Werner Pawlok
  • Introduction

  • CV

  • Exhibitions

  • Publications

  • Links


Cuba - Expired

Can one make joie de vivre visible in a room devoid of people? Werner Pawlok can. In Havana’s decaying houses, the photographer captures the Caribbean city’s morbid charm as well as a sense of the Havanans’ vitality.

Former glory and traces of the decline are side by side in Werner Pawlok’s Havana photos. Palatial residences from the old sugar aristocracy seem to entrust him, revealing their weathered countenances. The beauty of the Cuban capital and the history of Havana have bittersweet aftertastes. It is a lost world, left to decay. Pawlok brings the viewer under the spell of the old city, in which former luxury is felt merely as a relic of the past.

Photography Paintings

Werner Pawlok’s giant pictures of young women are transfers of large-format Polaroids onto handmade paper or canvas. To process the positive, the artist uses his talents as a painter. This technique, which so perfectly combines both artistic disciplines, is of Pawlok’s own invention and brought him international renown. The Photography Paintings are from the early 1990s.

Their subtle aura and classical composition quote great works from art history, but through their contemporary colour and styling, the pictures remain contemporary witnesses to the here and now. There are only two cameras in the world capable of producing Polaroids in the 50 x 60 cm format; the film is practically non-existent. However, that did not stop Werner Pawlok from using this unique equipment for his work.


A self-taught photographer from Stuttgart, Germany, Werner Pawlok first picked up a camera when he was sixteen in order to take pictures of his idol, Jimi Hendrix, onstage in 1969. Since then, he has been looking through a lens into the depths of rooms and souls. Even if the people in front of the camera would prefer otherwise, Pawlok captures their very essence in his one-of-a-kind photographs.

Pawlok’s work enjoys wide recognition around the world, with numerous international awards, solo exhibitions, and group exhibitions with great artists such as Warhol, Richter, Mapplethorpe, and Polke. Pawlok’s career began in 1977, when he opened his first studio in Esslingen, Germany. Sever years later, he moved to Stuttgart. In 1988, he went to New York for a year. In addition to his haunting black and white Polaroid portraits of authors, his signature style is most recognisable in his “Photography Paintings” or in his celebrity and fashion photographs.


Werner Pawlok is self-taught. That does not just mean that he learned all his techniques by himself, but also that he is the kind of artist who will not be stopped because he cannot do something or because something does not appear to be possible. He managed to get ahold of one of two specialised large-format Polaroid cameras in existence. He takes this same approach to his subjects: unafraid and open to all possible outcomes.

In the Polaroid transfers, Pawlok combines painting and photography. He developed a process of transferring the large-format Polaroid negatives onto hand-made paper and then finishing them by painting on them. Pawlok’s style is variety. He meets every new challenge with curiosity and openness.
1953Born in Stuttgart, Germany
1977-78Lecturer at Academy of Arts, Stuttgart, Berlin
1980Founder of the first gallery for photography in south Germany
1988-89First Studio in New York, USA
Lives and works in Stuttgart, Germany

Solo Exhibitions (Selection)

2012ARTFLOW, Kunsthalle Messmer, Riegel am Kaiserstuhl, Germany
2010Moving cities, G3 Gallery, Hamburg, Germany
2009Face the time, Galerie Andreas Baumgartl, Munich, Germany
2009Werkschau / Retrospektive, Galerie Andreas Baumgartl, Munich, Germany
2008Cuba – expired, Gallery Breuer+Kansky, Munich, Germany
2007Views - faces of literature, Porsche, Stuttgart, Germany
2005Private Views, Bankhaus Ellwanger & Geiger, Stuttgart, Germany
1996Transfers, Gallery Raab Boukamel, London, UK
1996Transfers, Contemporary Art Gallery, Zurich, Switzerland
1993Stars & Paints, Musée de l'Elysée, Lausanne, Switzerland
1992Transfers, Musée de l´Elysée, Lausanne, Switzerland
1991Photography Paintings, Fotografie Forum International, Frankfurt, Germany

Group Exhibitions (Selection)

2011Episode 1, Caratart Kunstverein, Weil am Rhein, Germany
2011Light my fire, Nimbus Group Mock-up, Stuttgart, Germany
2011Psychadelic Record Sleeves, Duncan Smith Gallery, Stuttgart, Germany
2010Dezemberschau, Galerie AK 1 Stuttgart, Germany
2009Australia's Bushfire Exhibition, McCulloch Gallery, Melbourne, Australien
2008The big picture I + II, Oliver Gordon Gallery, Toronto, Kanada
2006Accrochage, Gallery Andreas Baumgartl, Munich, Germany
2003Photography in Advertising, Design Center, Malmö, Schweden
2000Images Beyond the naked eye, Museo, Den Haag, Niederlande
1998Augenlust with Mapplethorpe, Picasso, Warhol, Cocteau, Kunsthaus Hannover, Germany
1993Milk Glas, Chicago Athenaeum Museum of Design, Chicago, USA
1993Columbus / Artists United for Nature, Sony Headquater, Tokyo, Japan
1991Coulour (with Penn, Mapplethorpe, Wegman), Hamilton´s Gallery, London, UK

Books/Catalogs (Selection)

Face the time, Girard-Perregeaux, Katalog zur Ausstellung, 2009
Werner Pawlok Werkschau, Katalog zur Ausstellung, Galerie Andreas Baumgartl, 2009
Photography in Advertising, Katalog zur Ausstellung, FormDesignCenter Malmö, Schweden, 2003
Emerging bodies / Akt in Polaroid, Barbara Hitchcock, 2010
Budapest, Marc Cain Cooperation, Deutschland, 2010
New York, Marc Cain Cooperation, Deutschland, 2010
Leigh Bowery, Violette Editions, London, UK, 1998
Stars & Paints, Publisher Edition Braus, Deutschland, 1997
Master Pieces, Collectors Box, Mercedes-Benz/Edition Domberger, 1993
Master Pieces, Publisher Edition Cantz, 1998
Transfers, Publisher Edition Cantz, 1992
Mois de la Photo á Paris, Jean-Luc Monterosso, 1992
Columbus in search of a new tomorrow, Collectors Box, AUN/Edition Domberger, 1992
Bodies, Publisher Polaroid, USA, 1988
50 Jahre Moderne Farbfotografie, Verlag Photokina/Manfred Heiting, 1986
Selections 3, Verlag Photographie/Polaroid, 1986

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