GUY TILLIM: Second Nature

Centre Photographique d’Ile-de-France, Pontault-Combault, France
15 Sep 2013 - 22 Dec 2013

The Centre Photographique d’Île-de-France presents Guy Tillim’s second solo show in France. Second Nature brings together two sets taken between 2010 and 2011 in French Polynesia and in the city of São Paulo. The spaces of the CPIF provide a new vision of the relationship between these two series, revealing the richness of Tillim’s work on landscapes.

Second Nature explores the extent to which a photographer can give a true rendering of a natural or urban landscape, by evoking a question which is inherent to such representations: How much do you interpret a scene and how much do you let it speak for itself?

When Guy Tillim takes pictures of a landscape, he sets himself the task of   “actually seeing the landscape. It’s a space that changes with a glance or a ghost of a thought.”(1) Rather than show a landscape through details or monumentality, he tries to capture something in-between, which makes his representations of nature seem familiar, because each element can express itself equally and without hierarchy.

As if looking for a modern counterpoint to his Polynesian photographs, Guy Tillim travelled to São Paulo—a town which has also been filmed, photographed and described from every conceivable angle. Here too, he was seeking a new way of describing a city of which it has been said that its total absence of personality has become its personality.


Guy Tillim, born in 1962 in Johannesburg, South Africa, lives and works in Cape Town. Guy Tillim has been a freelance photographer since 1986 and was a member of the Afrapix collective until 1990. Between 1986 and 1988, he worked for Reuters and then for Agence France Presse from 1993 to 1994. His work has previously been presented at the Huis Marseille Museum for Photography in Amsterdam (2012), the Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago (2011) and at the Henri Cartier- Bresson Foundation (2009). Amongst others, he took part in Documenta 12 in Kassel (2007) and the triennial ‘Intense Proximity’ at the Palais de Tokyo in Paris (2012). 

Event organized with Stevenson Cape Town and Johannesburg as part of the France-South Africa Seasons 2012 & 2013







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