Wolfgang Tillmans Designs EU ‘Brexit’ Poster Campaign
Art & Design
German photographer and designer, Wolfgang Tillmans, has designed a poster series that addresses the UK’s upcoming ‘Brexit’ referendum, in which the country will vote to remain or exit the European Union. Calling the government’s official Remain campaign ‘lame’ and ‘lacking in passion’ Tillmans has thrown his considerably more passionate campaign hat into the ring, hoping to galvanize a vote that keeps Britain in the EU when the polls open on June 23rd..
“I want to get involved and actively campaign. In particular, I want to work towards maximizing turnout among younger voters by focusing on the first, crucial step: voter registration – the deadline for which is June 7,” Tillmans writes on his website, where 25 posters, each explicitly addressing the urgency of countering the efforts of right-wing Conservatives, who favor an exit from the European Union, can be downloaded and shared on social media, or printed and posted by anyone.
The European Union Membership Referendum, or Brexit referendum—the coined term is an amalgamation of ‘Britain’ and ‘exit’—has become a political lightening rod in Britain, where those who favor the UK remaining in the EU view xenophobia as the driving force behind the Conservatives’ opposition to it. From a practical viewpoint, of course, undoing a union that has been in existence for more than 40 years presents outsized complications, dramatically transforming national security, regional influence, and Britain’s overall identity as it currently stands.
Wolfgang Tillmans, the only photographer and non-Briton to win the Turner Prize (2000), makes use of photography in his Brexit poster campaign, but mostly keeps things markedly direct with words. To-the-point voting reminders, cautionary statements, and brief aphorisms make his case in large, sans-serif text, mostly overlays on moody landscape gradients, monochromes or nothing at all—illustrating the artist’s sense of urgency. “Brexit could effectively spell the end of the EU. It’s a flawed and problematic institution, but on the whole it stands for a democratic worldview, human rights and favors cooperation over confrontation.”