Imants Tillers is one of Australia’s leading contemporary artists. Born in a Latvian émigré family in Sydney, he was awarded a Bachelor of Architecture degree from University of Sydney (1972). His interest in contemporary art emerged during his study years, when as a volunteer he became involved in the Christo and Jeanne-Claude project Wrapped Coast, the shrouding of Little Bay in Sydney (1969).
Imants Tillers is referred to as a ‘thought-provoking’ artist and his style is considered to be the quintessence of Postmodernism. The art of Tillers is intellectual, incorporating references to world cultures, the history of Western art, 20th century European literature and philosophy, indigenous Australian culture. Imants has always chosen for his works, topics that would stimulate meaningful discussions.
In 1981 Imants Tillers began using small-scale rectangular cartons covered in canvas for his painting, these are often combined into works of impressive scale. These ‘canvasboards’ have become a distinguishing feature and conceptual solution of the artist’s work. Tillers has opted for the appropriation method – his paintings incorporate images found in works by other artists. By quoting them and using many such images in the one composition, the world is revealed as a system of mutually interlinked occurrences. Text is also an ever-present constituent part of Tillers’s oeuvres – sentences taken from works by philosophers, writers, poets, and thinkers which like conceptual narratives are carried over from one painting to another. The focus of artist’s ‘big questions’ is the individual, place and identity, exile, migration and affiliation.