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
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