The Power Institute Foundation for Art and Visual Culture

Imants Tillers: Journey to Nowhere


Published by 
Power Publications 
Latvian National Museum of Art


RRP $50.00 AUD
ISBN 978-9-934538-22-3
160 colour illustrations
296 pp
1260 gms
259 x 217 mm

For the renowned artist Imants Tillers, whose career spans more than four decades of prolific creative practice, this ‘journey to nowhere’ is neither a homecoming nor a departure, but a fertile and thought-provoking meeting of worlds. The son of Latvian parents who were displaced during the Second World War, Tillers was born in Sydney, Australia, where he would speak Latvian before English and long feel the pull of a distant culture. Displacement, diaspora and an awareness of the complex weave of cultures marks all his work, from his experiments with installation in the 1970s and trailblazing appropriations in the 1980s to the holistic system of modular (canvasboard) paintings that number 108,224 today.

With contributions from Elita Ansone, Graham Coulter-Smith, Mark Ledbury, Ian McLean and Tillers himself, this publication traces the artist’s career through his most formative journeys, be they physical, collaborative or philosophical. As the work crosses vast physical, metaphysical and mytho-poetic terrain, our authors find themselves in Karosta, Papunya, Cooma and many distant art-historical shores along the way. From this complex odyssey emerges a distinct and creative vision, that of a visual philosopher who identifies as an outsider in the city of his birth and visitor in his homeland.


Imants Tillers is a visual artist, writer and curator based in Cooma, NSW. His signature canvasboard paintings are informed by the contemporary diasporic experience, and often respond to issues of migration, identity, place and displacement. He graduated from the University of Sydney with an Honours degree in architecture, and has exhibited widely since the late 1960s, representing Australia at important international exhibitions including the Sao Paulo Bienal in 1975, Documenta 7 in 1982, and the 42nd Venice Biennale in 1986. Tillers has won the Gold, Silver and Bronze prizes at the Osaka Triennale (1993–2001), and in 2003 he won the inaugural Beijing International Art Biennale Prize for Excellence. In 2018 the Latvian National Museum of Art in Riga presented a large-scale retrospective exhibition of his work, Journey to Nowhere, which featured more than 70 works. In 2019 Tillers will join the international jury for the Purvītis Prize alongside Klaus Biesenbach, Ursula Krinzinger, Milena Orlova, Galila Barzilaï-Hollander and Udo Kittelmann. 



Mark Ledbury
‘We’re on a Road to Nowhere, Come on Inside’: Imants Tillers’ Procession

Imants Tillers
Journey to Nowhere

Graham Coulter-Smith
The Evolution of Imants Tillers’ Holistic Canvasboard System

Ian McLean
The Metaphysics of Mimicry: Why Imants Tillers Appropriates Aboriginal Art

Elita Ansone
Finding Out About Latvia

Jennifer Slatyer and Olivia Sophia


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