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 through the innovative use of geometric patterns 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 and cameras, and moreover, in cinematography and computer-generated images. The artist paints a fantastical interpretation of nature,
in which Romanticism and utopia are perceptible at the same time.
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, with the bizarre visual effect of colorful LED tubes. Artificial light, placed by the tourist industry, can be found, e.g., in the nocturnal landscape, to impress tourists in ski resorts on 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.
In 2009, the young artist became known for her colorful birch tree paintings and was selected and shortlisted for several international competitions and scholarships.
Her 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.
Wölk has exhibited her work alongside artists like Robert Rauschenberg, Cindy Sherman, Johannes Wohnseifer, Azade Köker, and Stephan Balkenhol. In 2011, she was selected for the Edition S 36 of DSV Kunst Kontor, Stuttgart. The Edition S 36 was a compilation of contemporary artworks, including paintings of Jonathan Meese and Tim Eitel.
She has exhibited and sold on the international art market, including the 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. In 2014 and 2019, the painter was selected to participate in the Finalists exhibition of the art competition Art Revolution in Taipei, Taiwan.
Currently, she works as a senior teacher at the Painting Department of the Fine Art Faculty of Jugendkunstschule Pankow Berlin.
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, which is the 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 the present day, my work explores the relationship between cultural plurality and the recycling of pop culture. I do this 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 futuristic dystopias. They describe a world of destroyed 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.