tomwom, Silence Italien Giglio 2012
Digital Print 1800 x 1200 mm, Alu Dibond hinter Acryl 3/3
This collection is entitled DAUERZUSTAND. You would translate the term as “permanent condition,” but these photographs all share a juxtaposed proposition:There is no permanence.Look at the shot of theWorld Trade Center and nothing could be more self evident.This is obvious for obvious reasons. Or you might notice the boat in the distance skimming across the water, the grass growing at the abandoned parking barriers at Tegel Airport, the crowded beach in Spain, or the shrine in the center of Bangkok. Nothing stands still—the people, the water, the buildings, the grass, the sky. Everything is always changing.The moment the shot is taken there is change.We intuitively know this to be true, and tomwom’s intention is catch that moment and compel you to reconsider its (im)permanence.You turn away and look again, and it has changed. Because we change— without pause. In actual fact, there is no dauerzustand, or permanent condition.Tomwom
recognised this as a child, and now his journey has brought him through a myriad of changes to present this assembly of work.
- Thomas Wommelsdorf
- Schlegelstrasse 6
Thomas Wommelsdorf, aka tomwom, Photographer.
As a young boy growing up in Düsseldorf,West Germany, tomwon’s father would have him believe a career as an artist was for losers.Then his father made the mistake of lending him his Zeiss Ikon—and that was that.As a thirteen year old with an innate hunger to “see” things as they really are, the camera was a “lens” through which tomwom would begin to see the world in all its perfect imperfection—as the artist does. He would embark on a lifelong journey, seizing any and all chances to develop his craft, always believing in the call, his métier. He would ignore the ridicule directed at his homemade darkroom. He would continue his parallel pursuit of acting in a regional theatre company as he soaked up abundant culture and art, spending every spare moment at the museums, sneaking into the Düsseldorf Art Academy to observe and read, obsessively expanding his technical knowledge, living and seeing the world, and taking pictures. He would pay close attention to the visionaries of photography, in particular Bernd and Hilla Becher and the Dusseldorf School, and the great emerging exemplars of modern photography,Thomas Ruff, Axel Hütte,Thomas Struth, and Andreas Gursky. He continued pushing himself to learn and grow by gaining practical know-how and experience. He joyously shot mundane coverage for an economics magazine, and was implicit in the creation of a documentary-style political programme for children at the state broadcaster,WDR. One of the episodes was the Majdanek concentration camp trials, and it would affect tomwom deeply. His clear determination to see real-life through a true and truthful “lens” deepened. In the meantime, more professional doors would open. He seized the opportunity to work as an Assistant Director in Munich, where he would carefully observe and learn the director’s craft from some of the top international directors of the time. He would then spend two years in LA as a service producer of European film productions.Then came the fall of the Berlin Wall and he returned to the epicenter of great change, where he would become an A-list producer of TV commercials, until 1997, and another turning point. He lost his mother and realised life was too short. It was now or never. From one day to the next he changed tack and soon became one of those same international directors, working in every conceivable country and location—from China to Chile, Cuba, the US and Canada, throughout Europe and Southeast Asia, Russia, Poland, South Africa; the list is long and extensive, the experiences vast and transformative. Always with his camera, always honing his craft, quietly showing his photographic work in several group shows, and a solo exhibition.
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