ABOUT THE WORK
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.
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.
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, Germany|
|2012||ARTFLOW, Kunsthalle Messmer, Riegel am Kaiserstuhl, Germany|
|2010||Moving cities, G3 Gallery, Hamburg, Germany|
|2009||Face the time, Galerie Andreas Baumgartl, Munich, Germany|
|2009||Werkschau / Retrospektive, Galerie Andreas Baumgartl, Munich, Germany|
|2008||Cuba – expired, Gallery Breuer+Kansky, Munich, Germany|
|2007||Views - faces of literature, Porsche, Stuttgart, Germany|
|2005||Private Views, Bankhaus Ellwanger & Geiger, Stuttgart, Germany|
|1996||Transfers, Gallery Raab Boukamel, London, UK|
|1996||Transfers, Contemporary Art Gallery, Zurich, Switzerland|
|1993||Stars & Paints, Musée de l'Elysée, Lausanne, Switzerland|
|1992||Transfers, Musée de l´Elysée, Lausanne, Switzerland|
|1991||Photography Paintings, Fotografie Forum International, Frankfurt, Germany|
|2011||Episode 1, Caratart Kunstverein, Weil am Rhein, Germany|
|2011||Light my fire, Nimbus Group Mock-up, Stuttgart, Germany|
|2011||Psychadelic Record Sleeves, Duncan Smith Gallery, Stuttgart, Germany|
|2010||Dezemberschau, Galerie AK 1 Stuttgart, Germany|
|2009||Australia's Bushfire Exhibition, McCulloch Gallery, Melbourne, Australien|
|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 with Mapplethorpe, Picasso, Warhol, Cocteau, Kunsthaus Hannover, Germany|
|1993||Milk Glas, Chicago Athenaeum Museum of Design, Chicago, USA|
|1993||Columbus / Artists United for Nature, Sony Headquater, Tokyo, Japan|
|1991||Coulour (with Penn, Mapplethorpe, Wegman), Hamilton´s Gallery, London, UK|