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Tuesday, 28 November, 2000, 23:37 GMT
Photographer wins Turner Prize
Tillmans (right) celebrates with his brother
Tillmans (right) celebrates with his brother
A German-born photographer whose work includes images of a half-naked man urinating on a chair and rats running through a rubbish tip has won the UK's best known art award.

Wolfgang Tillmans was awarded the 20,000 Turner Prize at a ceremony at the Tate Britain in London on Tuesday.

His prize-winning work was a collection of 57 arresting photo images, from the banal to the poignant.

He said the intention was not to shock the viewer but "shift the perspective about what is beautiful and what is acceptable in society".

I don't want to get over you by Wolfgang Tillmans
I don't want to get over you, by Wolfgang Tillmans
"I find some things beautiful that other people might find quite horrible," he added.

The 32-year-old emerged as the 16th winner of the prize from one of the most conservative shortlists for many years.

He beat Michael Raedecker, Tomoko Takahashi and British artist Glenn Brown to take the prestigious and, at times, controversial prize.

Tillmans was presented the award by designer Paul Smith.

In a short acceptance speech the winner described the Turner Prize experience as "challenging and unusual".

He said: "I am very, very happy. I would like to thank all at the Tate for their support and enthusiasm."

After receiving his award the artist expressed frustration at the way the work of some artists was portrayed in the media.

He said: "I do not like the whole need for sensationalising things.


"There is a desire to create some outrage and I think most people are not that outraged."

His work is described in the Tate catalogue as "work which strikingly engages with contemporary culture while challenging the boundaries between art and photography".

The jury praised the way his photography used different aspects of contemporary culture and managed to create striking images from everyday life.

Tillmans first worked as a photographer producing layouts for design magazines i-D and Interview.

He once said of his early work: "I put all my love and energy into taking these pictures of people that I thought were beautiful and worth taking pictures of."


His recent work tackles a wide variety of subjects including people, inanimate objects, and landscapes.

Meanwhile, British artist Glenn Brown dismissed criticism that some of his work was copied, after a newspaper published a picture of a book cover that appeared identical to one of his exhibited pictures.

He said: "What I do is to respect other artists.

"I think the artists are great and I want other people to think they are great too.

"I simply want people to get to know their work."

The award marks a shift in the Turner Prize, which in previous years has been awarded to artists who were never far from furore.

Damien Hirst, who became known as the enfant terrible of the art world for his animals in formaldehyde, took the award in 1995.


In 1998 Chris Ofili's work caused outrage when it was revealed elephant dung was used as one of his painting materials.

The sculptures of Antony Gormley, Rachel Whiteread and Anish Kapoor - all three Turner winners - have been less controversial but just as divisive in the public arena.

But Tillman's win may go a long way towards restoring a sceptical public's faith in modern art.

The Turner Prize also attracts its fair share of detractors in the art world.

A group calling themselves the Stuckists protested outside Tate Britain on Tuesday, complaining the prize and the gallery had become a circus.

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Wolfgang Tillmans: 57 varieties
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