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Elio with friends - Havana
IntroductionPalaces in Venice
'Over the course of my many visits to Venice, I have gradually learned about a place previously unknown to me: the Venice of the Venetians. It feels as if one is on the trail of a world long-since submerged.'
Venice is world famous for its art and history: countless visitors from all over the world are drawn to the narrow streets, St. Mark's Square, and the spectacular exhibitions of the Biennale. However, Werner Pawlok shows us the lagoon city from another, lesser-known perspective. He gives us an insight into the innermost parts of Venice, which remain hidden from most visitors. Through this, he shows art and history from a surprisingly private perspective, far away from tourist crowds and postcard-worthy views. Pawlok succeeded in gaining access to the most sublime and impressive palazzi in the city, staging their interiors in his distinctive style.Using bold colors, he captures Venetian history reflected in the architecture and ornate furnishings of the houses. Centuries-old heritage appears in a new light and stimulates the viewer's imagination to fill the vacant spaces with historical personalities and intriguing anecdotes. Pawlok's works are photographic time travels with unique charm and an impressive tribute to La Serenissima and its flourishing beauty.
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.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
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.
1953 Born in Stuttgart, Germany 1977-78 Lecturer at Academy of Arts, Stuttgart, Berlin 1980 Founder of the first gallery for photography in south Germany 1988-89 First Studio in New York, USA Lives and works in Stuttgart, GermanyExhibitions
2021 Master Pieces, MAC 2 Museum Art + Cars, Singen, Germany 2018 Master Pieces, Grand Basel, Basel, Switzerland Cuba – expired, Lumas Gallery, Singapore; Melbourne, Australia 2016 Cuba – expired, Lumas Gallery, Singapore; Dubai, UAE, Berlin, Germany; Vienna, Austria 2015 Cuba – expired, Lumas Gallery, Moscow, Russia; Riga, Lettland; Mailand, Italy, Salzburg, Austria 2014 Cuba – expired, Lumas Gallery, Amsterdam, Netherlands; Paris, France, Dusseldorf, Germany 2013 Cuba – expired, Lumas Gallery, London, UK
Five Days Paris, Rolls Royce London, London, UK
views – faces of literature, Art Week Hamburg Brahms Kontor, Hamburg, Germany
2012 Werner Pawlok Fotografien, Kunsthalle Messmer, Riegel, Germany
views – faces of literature, Literaturhaus Stuttgart, Stuttgart, Germany
2010 moving cities, G3 Gallery, Hamburg, Germany 2009 Werkschau / Retrospektive, Galerie Andreas Baumgartl, Munich, Germany 2007 Views - faces of literature, Porsche, Stuttgart, Germany 1999 Dantes Commedia, Galerie Tobias Hirschmann, Frankfurt, Germany 1998 Master Pieces, Museum of Modern Art, Ljubljana, Slovenia 1997 Dantes Commedia, Galerie Benden + Klimczak, Cologne, Germany
Master Pieces, Art Festival, Birmingham, USA
1996 Transfers, Gallerie Raab Boukamel, Lonodn, UK; Contemporary Art Gallerie Zurich, Switzerland 1994 Crying Animals, Galerie Hans Mayer, Dusseldorf, Germany 1993 Stars & Paints, Musée de l’Elysée, Lausanne, Switzerland
Transfers, Second Photobienale India, Neu Dheli, India
1992 Master Pieces by Mercedes-Benz (tour opening), Mercedes-Benz Museum, Stuttgart, Germany
Transfers, Musée de l’Elysée, Lausanne, Switzerland
1991 Photography Paintings, Fotografie Forum, Frankfurt; Kulturverein Zehntscheuer Rottenburg; Forum Böttcherstraße Bremen; Kunstverein Heidelberg, Heidelberg; Städtische Galerie Erlangen, Photogalerie Bordenau, Neustadt; Galerie 6x7, Mainz, Germany; Kunsthalle Innsbruck II, Innsbruck, Austria
2021 Warum denn in die Ferne... oder In 18 Büchern..., Kunstverein Esslingen, Esslingen, Germany
LOOK!, Museum Marta Herford, Herford, Germany
2019 Daguerreotypie, Autochrom, Polaroid.1/1“ , Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts, Moscow, Russia
Persona, Estudio Pablo de Lillo, Oviedo, Spain
Gunter Sachs Kamerakunst, Kunsthalle, Schweinfurt, Germany
2015 Le Bord de Mondes, Palais de Tokyo, Paris, France 2014 Blütezeit, Kunstsammlung DZ Bank, Frankfurt, Germany 2013 Sammlung Gunter Sachs, Kunsthalle Schweinfurt, Schweinfurt, Germany
Leigh Bowery, Otherness, Espace Culturel Louis Vuitton, Paris, France
2012 XTRAVAGANZA, Staging Leigh Bowery, Kunsthalle Vienna, Vienna, Austria
Polaroid, The Finnish Museum for Photography, Helsinki, Finnland
2011 Photography in the fast lane, Galerie der Stadt Sindelfingen, Sindelfingen, Germany
Light my fire, Nimbus Group Mock-up, Stuttgart, Germany
Psychadelic Record Sleeves, Duncan Smith Gallery, Stuttgart, Germany
2009 Australia‘s Bushfire Exhibition, McCulloch Gallery, Melbourne, Australia
25 Jahre Fotoforum Frankfurt, Fotoforum Frankfurt, Frankfurt Germany
2008 The big picture I + II, Oliver Gordon Gallery, Toronto, Kanada 2006 Accrochage, Gallery Andreas Baumgartl, Munich, Germany 2003 Photography in Advertising, Design Center, Malmö, Schweden 2000 Images Beyond the naked eye, Museo, Den Haag, Niederlande 1998 Augenlust, Kunsthaus, Hanover, Germany 1996 Rosen, Tulpen, Nelken, Gallery Tobias Hirschmann, Frankfurt, Germany; Contemporary Art Gallery, Zurich, Switzerland
natur¿, Kunst- und Ausstellungshalle der Bundesrepublik Deutschland, Bonn, Germany
Liebe und Poesie, Gallery Tobias Hirschmann, Frankfurt, Germany
1993 Milk Glas, Chicago Athenaeum Museum of Design, Chicago, USA
Columbus / Artists United for Nature, Sony Headquater, Tokyo, Japan
1991 Coulour, Hamilton ́s Gallery, London, UK
Das Goldene Zeitalter, Württembergischer Kunstverein, Stuttgart, GermanyInterviewWhen did you become interested in art? How did it all begin?
For me, art is first and foremost a feeling. I see art as life, not as galleries, collectors, money, etc. Every day brings new experiences which resonate with me and eventually transform into energy, which I use to create images. I’ve experienced this feeling since youth and not much has changed since. It all began with a camera that my parents gave me as a birthday present when I was little. For me this was a direct way to transform observations into pictures.
How would you describe your work process?
Generally, my work process is always different. It depends on the specific project I’ve chosen. Before I start a series, I decide which technical equipment I'm going to use – and, at this stage, I question whether any new technology is available that I’d like to incorporate into my process. I love the risk involved and how it keeps things new and interesting. It’s important for me to fully understand the work process so that I can implement it properly an achieve my vision.
Who inspires you?
During a recent trip to Venice, I had the opportunity to see the Uncertainties Installation in the Spanish Pavilion at the Architecture Biennale, and I was quite impressed. The floor-to-ceiling exhibition, created using thousands of pieces of paper related to the pandemic and the Spanish real estate bubble, maintains a sense of lightness despite its density. It was created by Itzar Okariz and Sergio Prego.
Which artists/works of art are you particularly impressed with at the moment?
Classic photographers never fail to impress me. Man Ray, Erwin Blumenfeld and Irvin Penn, to name a few.
What distinguishes a good work of art?
If I am satisfied with the result of my creative process and of course, if it is appreciated by exhibition visitors.
What project are you working on at the moment?
I am currently working on my new book Dimore Veneziane. It’s a photographic love letter to Venice. The development of this project is particularly interesting. I began with photographs of palazzi on the Grand Canal and it evolved into a multi-layered, multimedia project with many different facets. It is quite different from my previous projects, both in terms of visual language and thematic range.
What is the purpose of art?
Above all, to inspire
Does art bring about happiness?
It is not art, but life that should make one happy, and art is an essential part of life!