Imants Tillers is a visual artist, writer and curator. Born in Sydney in 1950, Tillers currently lives and works in Cooma, New South Wales. In 1973 he graduated from the University of Sydney with a Bachelor of Science in Architecture (Hons), and the University Medal. Tillers has exhibited widely since the late 1960s, and has represented Australia at important international exhibitions, such as the Sao Paulo Bienal in 1975, Documenta 7 in 1982, and the 42nd Venice Biennale in 1986.
Major solo surveys of Tillers’ work include Imants Tillers: works 1978 – 1988, Institute of Contemporary Arts, London (1988); Imants Tillers: 19301, National Art Gallery, Wellington (1989); Diaspora, National Art Museum, Riga, Latvia (1993); Diaspora in Context, Pori Art Museum, Pori, Finland (1995); Towards Infinity: Works by Imants Tillers, Museum of Contemporary Art (MARCO) in Monterrey, Mexico (1999); Imants Tillers: one world many visions, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra (2006); The Long Poem, Lawrence Wilson Art Gallery, Perth (2009).
Tillers has also exhibited in numerous group exhibitions around the world, including An Australian Accent, PS1, New York (1984); Antipodean Currents, Guggenheim Museum, Soho (1995); Australian Perspecta (1981,1987-89); The World Over/Under Capricorn: Art in the Age of Globalisation, City Gallery Wellington, New Zealand and Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam (1996); the Biennale of Sydney (1979, 1986, 1988 and 2006); Kunst Nach Kunst (Art After Art), the Neues Museum Weserburg, Germany (2003); Prism, Bridgestone Museum of Art, Tokyo (2006).
Tillers has been the recipient of numerous awards and commissions, such as the Osaka Triennale Prize (Gold in 1993, Bronze in 1996, and Silver in 2001), and the inaugural Beijing International Art Biennale Prize for Excellence (2003). Major commissions include the Federation Pavilion, Centennial Park (1985-87); the Founding Donors Painting, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney (1991), and two key sculptures for Sydney Olympic Park (2002). Tillers has been a trustee of the Art Gallery of New South Wales since 2001. In 2005 he was awarded a Doctor of Letters honoris causa for ‘his long and distinguished contribution to the field of arts’, by the University of New South Wales.
Quotation: Imants Tillers, speaking about his 1980s work in interview with Dr Deborah Hart, curator, Imants Tillers: One world many visions, National Gallery of Australia, 2006
As an Australian, I focused on the second-handedness of Australian culture. So the works are largely quotations of other works and in fact they are quotations of the neo-expressionism of Kiefer or Baselitz and works of McCahon.
Imants Tillers, speaking about his 1980s work in interview with Dr Deborah Hart, curator, Imants Tillers: One world many visions, National Gallery of Australia, 2006