There is no room for ambiguity in Wolfgang Tillmans’ recently launced series of EU referendum posters, currently on show at Photo London until 22 May.
The Turner Prize-winning German artist, who is based between London and Berlin, is firmly in the ‘Remain’ camp – although he believes that the official campaign to stay is “lame and lacking in passion”.
There is certainly no lack of passion and urgency in Tillmans’ posters, which are freely available via the artist’s website for sharing on social media or printing off as posters. A Brexit, he believes, would hand victory to the extreme right in Europe.
Says Tillmans: “I feel that we have reached a critical moment that could prove to be a turning point for Europe as we know and enjoy it – one that might result in a cascade of problematic consequences and political fall-out.”
Arguing that the weakening of the EU is “a goal being actively pursued by strongmen like Vladimir Putin and European parties on the far-right”, Tillmans believes that “Brexit could effectively spell the end of the EU”.
Tillmans is particularly animated about the need for people to ensure they are registered to vote in the EU referendum, the deadline for which is 7 June. Students, for example, are no longer automatically registered when they move to a new city.
Tillmans’ campaign, titled Between Bridges, was created by the artist and his assistants at studios in London and Berlin. “Please feel free to share these posters,” says Tillmans. “I consider them open-source, you can take my name tag off if more appropriate.”
While firmly on the ‘In’ side, Tillmans is not an uncritical cheerleader for the EU. “It’s a flawed and problematic institution,” he admits, “but on the whole it stands for a democratic worldview, human rights and favours cooperation over confrontation.”
Between Bridges is showing at Photo London, Somerset House, London until 22 May 2016. photolondon.org
The EU referendum takes place on Thursday 23 June 2016. www.eureferendum.gov.uk
1-7: Wolfgang Tillmans, Between Bridges, EU campaign, 2016