ABOUT THE WORK
Palaces in VeniceVenice 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…
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.
Born in Stuttgart, Germany
Lecturer at Academy of Arts, Stuttgart, Berlin
Founder of the first gallery for photography in south Germany
First Studio in New York, USA
Lives and works in Stuttgart, Germany
ARTFLOW, Kunsthalle Messmer, Riegel am Kaiserstuhl, Germany
Moving cities, G3 Gallery, Hamburg, Germany
Face the time, Galerie Andreas Baumgartl, Munich, Germany
Werkschau / Retrospektive, Galerie Andreas Baumgartl, Munich, Germany
Cuba – expired, Gallery Breuer+Kansky, Munich, Germany
Views - faces of literature, Porsche, Stuttgart, Germany
The big picture I + II, Oliver Gordon Gallery, Toronto, Kanada
Accrochage, Gallery Andreas Baumgartl, Munich, Germany
Photography in Advertising, Design Center, Malmö, Schweden
Images Beyond the naked eye, Museo, Den Haag, Niederlande
Augenlust with Mapplethorpe, Picasso, Warhol, Cocteau, Kunsthaus Hannover, Germany
Milk Glas, Chicago Athenaeum Museum of Design, Chicago, USA
Columbus / Artists United for Nature, Sony Headquater, Tokyo, Japan
Coulour (with Penn, Mapplethorpe, Wegman), Hamilton´s Gallery, London, UK
When 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!