Guy Tillim — Second Nature



Guy Tillim
Second Nature

Past: September 14 → December 22, 2013

Second Nature is the second large-scale monographic exhibition in France by that key figure of contemporary South African photography, Guy Tillim. He exhibits his latest project for the very first time in France at the CPIF. Second Nature comprises two series of photos he took in French Polynesia and São Paulo between 2010 and 2011.

Guytillim comptroller bay nukuhiva 2011 medium
Guy Tillim, Comptroller Bay, Nuku Hiva, 2011 108 × 144 cm © Guy Tillim. Courtesy galerie Stevenson Cape Town and Johannesburg

This group of photos explores to what extent a photographer can truly render a natural or urban landscape by evoking a question which is inherent to the representation of landscape:

“How much do you ‘give’ a scene and how much do you let it speak for itself ?”

Guytillim rua marqu s de itu 2011 medium
Guy Tillim, Rua Marquês de Itu, 2011 108 x 144 cm © Guy Tillim. Courtesy galerie Stevenson Cape Town and Johannesburg

The Polynesian landscape has been the subject of numerous sketches and photos since Captain Cook’s voyages at the end of the 18th century, perhaps because it almost eludes any convincing form of representation. When Guy Tillim takes photos of a landscape, he sets himself the task of “actually seeing the landscape. It’s space that changes its face with a glance or a ghost of a thought.” Rather than represent a landscape through details or its monumentality, he is trying to capture an in-between space which makes this representation of nature seems familiar, where each element can express itself equally and without hierarchy.

Guytillim pra a coronel 2011 medium
Guy Tillim, Praça Coronel Custódio Fernandes Pinheiros, 2011 108 × 144 cm © Guy Tillim. Courtesy galerie Stevenson Cape Town and Johannesburg

As if looking for a modern counterpoint to his Polynesian photos, 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 took the same approach to this urban landscape as to the landscapes of Polynesia:

“I show a sort of indeterminate area. The things that we don’t notice, as they are quotidian things. They contribute as much to the landscape as the other things."

Second Nature by Guy Tillim, 2012.

77 Seine-et-Marne Zoom in 77 Seine-et-Marne Zoom out

107, av. de la République

77340 Pontault-Combault

T. 01 70 05 49 80 — F. 01 70 05 49 84

Opening hours

Wednesday – Friday, 1 PM – 6 PM
Saturday & Sunday, 2 PM – 6 PM
Other times by appointment

Admission fee

Free entrance

Venue schedule

The artist

  • Guy Tillim