Ralph Ueltzhoeffer - Pictures, Art, Photography

Ralph Ueltzhoeffer

Background Information about Ralph Ueltzhoeffer


Text portraits by Ralph Ueltzhoeffer

In Ralph Ueltzhoeffer’s text portraits, word and image merge in an inseparable unity. The artist, born in 1966, draws his text and pictures from the World Wide Web. The images are the end product of a grand art project over the course of 923 days dedicated to global networking and new media.

The faces, inscribed in text by the artist with their own biographies, are faces that the media has made popular, lives it has made accessible to the rest of the world – whether they like it or not. Stars of the pop and fashion world like Madonna, Kate Moss, and Serge Gainsbourg, but also illustrious figures such as the Dalai Lama and Joseph Beuys, now have written on their faces what Wikipedia, today humanity’s largest collective information source, has compiled about these selected mortals. Line for line, the letters conform to the contours of the faces, which seem astonishingly spatial and sensibly augmented by the text. These people are no “clean slates”; they have exceptional talents, wild careers, and are major successes. And for many millions of people they are exciting, a role model, hope.

Barack Obama, the 44th president of the United States, occupies a special place in the series. Ralph Ueltzhoeffer did not inscribe Obama’s still short biography on his face but rather only the two words “next step,” since Obama, like hardly another in our age, uses the media in innovative and successful ways.

Horst Klöver


1966born in Mannheim-Neckarau, Germany
1996-2002Arts degree from the Academy of Fine Arts in Karlsruhe, Germany,
Prof. Andreas Slominski and Prof. Ernst Caramelle
Professional work in photography, portraiture, and painting
2002formulated the concept of text portraits as a symbiosis of biographical text and portraiture photography
2006initiated TEXTPORTRAIT as an artistic project, web art project
lives and works in Karlsruhe and Mannheim, Germany
and in London, UK


2008 Missing, text portraits, Cafe Europe New York, USA
Missing, text portraits, Ground Zero New York, USA
Missing, text portraits, Tomwell, New York, USA
Anonymity, text portraits, Marietta Neuss, London, UK
Slides, Marietta Neuss London, UK
2007 Xavier Naidoo, David Beckham and other text portraits, Asperger Gallery, Pforzheim, Germany
Anonymity, text portraits, rest stop Milano Ouvest, Italy
Anonymity, text portraits, rest stop St. Gotthard, Switzerland
Text portraits, large-scale retail media placement, Mannheim, Germany
2006Projections, holograms, text portraits, Montreux, Casino, Switzerland
Xavier Naidoo and other text portraits, Galerie Marietta Neuss, Berlin, Germany/London, UK
2005 Gesichter dieser Stadt, large-scale retail posters, text portraits, Braunschweig, Germany
Room detecting, hologram projection, Translocation Cabinet Gallery, London, UK
2004David Beckham and other text portraits, Ann Anderson Projects, Stockholm, Sweden
Room detecting, hologram projection, Translocation Cabinet Gallery, London, UK
Gesichter dieser Stadt, large-scale retail posters, text portraits, Mannheim, Germany
2003B/W photographs, Galerie Weishaupt, Montreux, Switzerland
2001Die Geschichte von der hungernden Biene, organ factory Karlsruhe-Durlach, Germany
1999 Fotografie und Malerei, Asperger Gallery, Berlin, Germany
1998Elvira bitte melde mich, multimedia exhibition, Karlsruhe, Germany
1997 Die Suche, with Birgit Finger and Bernd Rubriem, Kunstraum Germersheim, Germany
ORM - Grafische Aspekte im Lebensraum, Mannheim-Neckarau, Germany
1995 Krupp-Foto X 94, San Diego, USA