artist portrait by Falk Buchröder

Biography

Anne Wölk is a German visual artist best known for light-flooded romantic starscapes accompanied by birch trees. Her fantastic multilayered narrations are like cinematic sceneries and refer to Science Fiction movies and novels. The artist redefines the genre of landscape painting by innovative use of geometric pattern to disrupt the composition’s moments of depth-perception. 

Wölk´s subject matter speaks of the imagery of futuristic science and technology, which we have only become familiar with from the advances of satellites, cameras, and moreover in cinematography and computer-generated-images. The artist paints a fantastical interpretation of nature, in which the simultaneity of Romanticism and Utopia become perceptible. 

Especially noteworthy are her late small-scale paintings in which Wölk deals with the subject matter of light pollution. She contrasts natural light phenomena such as the glow of the Milky Way on starry nights with the bizarre visual effect of colorful LED tubes, which were placed by the tourist industry, in the nocturnal landscape, to impress tourists in the ski resort of mountains. 

Anne Wölk received an MFA from The School of Art and Design Berlin and was a BFA student at Chelsea College of Art and Design in London.

Since 2009, the young artist became known for her colorful birch tree paintings and was selected and shortlisted for several international competitions and scholarships.

Awards include the national Studienstiftung des Deutschen Volkes scholarship, the Alpine Fellowship grant at Aldourie Castle, Scotland, UK; a Grand Prize from Papirmasse Montréal, Canada; a residency at Bodensee Art Fund and an artist in residence grant in Goriska Brda, Slovenia awarded by the German Embassy, Ljubljana. She has exhibited at international institutions, e.g., the Elgiz Museum of Contemporary Art, Istanbul, Turkey; the CICA Art Museum South Korea; the Accra Goethe-Institut Ghana and the Kyrgyz National Museum of Fine Arts, Bishkek, Kyrgyz Republik.

Since then Wölk has gone onto exhibit work alongside artists including Robert Rauschenberg, Cindy Sherman, Johannes Wohnseifer, Azade Köker, and Stephan Balkenhol, and in 2011 she was selected for the Edition S 36 of DSV Kunst Kontor, Stuttgart, Germany including artists like Jonathan Meese and Tim Eitel.

She has exhibited and sold on the international art market like Swab Art Fair Barcelona in Spain, Viennafair in Vienna Austria, KIAF Seoul in South Korea and Contemporary Istanbul in Turkey.

Wölk has since shown her work in private gallery shows including Galería Luis Adelantado, Valencia, Spain; Arebyte Gallery, London, UK; Galerie Wolfsen, Aalborg, Denmark; Pantocrator Gallery, Shanghai, China, and The Residence Gallery, London, UK.

In October 2013 she won the Category Award for ‘Art Takes Paris’, judged by directors from The Andy Warhol Museum in New York, Lisson Gallery and the Marianne Boesky Gallery. 2014 and 2019 the painter was selected to participate in the Finalists exhibition of the art competition Art Revolution Taipei Taiwan.

Currently, she works as a senior teacher at the Painting Department of the Fine Art Faculty of Jugendkunstschule Pankow Berlin.

Statement

Starscapes, Clouds and Birch Trees are a great source, of inspiration for me. They are symbols of aesthetic contemplation, for pure and true beauty in nature.

My grandfather was a refugee from East Prussian Königsberg, modern-day Kaliningrad. I remember him as a great draftsman. In early childhood, he affected me with his drawings, which were full of Baltic Romanticism and melancholy.

Although I belong to a different time and generation, the Baltic melancholy has inscribed itself in my artworks, like a different melody. Nowadays, I understand the significance of the context, and I know that German and East European elements will forever characterize my paintings. 

In present day my work explores the relationship between cultural plurality and recycling of pop-culture, by layering different motifs from Science Fiction film stills and quotations from an art historical background, like German Romanticism. I am very interested in Science fiction Novels, mainly from Poland, Russia, Japan, and, the United States. 

Most science fiction books are future dystopias. They describe a world of destructed nature accompanied by dangerous climate change and humanity without hope. In particular, the genre of cyberpunk is a world characterized by dark scenes selectively illuminated by artificial neon light. 

My recent body of work reflects on the ambivalent appeal of LED neon light in our environment and the light-fog driven by the advertising and tourism industry in the nocturnal landscape. The aesthetic of dystopian Hollywood blockbuster movies strongly influences the colorful neon light use of LED in our inner cities. Neon tubes are a symbol of the superior technology of a digital world.

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