Spotlight Artist @Artwork Archive USA
12th April 2022 Art Interview Artblog of Artwork Archive
Artist Spotlight: Anne Wölk’s Surreal Interstellar Landscapes
Anne Wölk’s paintings of the night sky and open galaxies test the margins between art and reality.
Using traditional methods and materials, Wölk references space telescope images while remixing them with elements of modern culture, “layering familiar references in new otherworldly surroundings.”
Born and raised in former East Germany in the town of Jena, Wölk grew up close to a center for lasers and optics technology. There, she encountered simulations of the cosmos and demonstrations of interplanetary travel—thus igniting a passion for attempting to understand the vastness of the universe.
Drawing upon Eastern European masters of landscape, she takes those techniques into interstellar landscapes—often imagining and inventing new environments.
“As my viewers position themselves amongst the stars on these new planets, they reconcile the daunting and often hostile universe with their own human nature,” said Wölk.
Wölk’s multidisciplinary paintings—both rooted in romanticism and photorealism—take you on a journey to fictional planets full of interstellar dust, starscapes, flowing color, and light. Familiar images of popular images of space are subverted with gradients, digital alterations, and information gaps—creating an entirely new landscape of her own; it is a landscape that Wölk describes as a speculative future.
See more of Anne Wölk’s work on Discovery and read more about her paintings that challenge us to consider the world and universe that we collectively inhabit.
Anne Wölk in her studio. Photo courtesy of Anne Wölk.
Has your work changed over time—do you find yourself understanding your art career through different periods of expression?
Of course, I have experienced many changes during my artistic journey.
I have always loved Eastern European masters of landscape painting, next to subject matters that belong to the science-fiction genre. Over the years, I have incorporated my passion for traditional influences with my love for futuristic images during an evolving process. Maybe for that reason, I have worked on different series of paintings for many years, and there are always breaks and exciting connections.
One of the most compelling bodies of work was my Starscapes series, which comprises night landscapes with fascinating and mysterious light atmospheres. From time to time, I also regularly look at my older artworks and try to incorporate some successful concepts and implementations into my current practice.
Spaceport Station by Anne Wölk
Do you have a favorite or most satisfying part of your process?
Joy is the focus of everything I do.
For that reason, I would answer spontaneously that I love the painting process.
I like to immerse myself in the painterly execution of details in my landscape paintings. The depiction of light and stars’ colors in the cosmos excites me the most. It informs us about properties such as size, age, and distance. Next to it, I like color experiments when sprayed color surfaces, running traces of paint, and photorealistic elements stand next to and charge each other.
Eagle nebula (🦅 Adler Nebel) by Anne Wölk. Oil on Canvas, 31.5 x 31.5 in.
What has your artistic education consisted of (formal or not)? If you did receive a formal education like an MFA, did you find it necessary for your artistic growth, or did you find that elsewhere?
My artistic training began quite early. I started studying at the Art Academy at Burg Giebichensteinwhen I was 17 in Ute Pleuger‘s class. There, I gained extensive knowledge of painting techniques, especially in the study of nature, design and composition theory, and color theory. In Pleuger’s painting class, contemporary conceptual abstract painting was taught. For this reason, I changed art schools to continue my studies in Berlin at the Kunsthochschule Berlin-Weißensee, hoping to get some support in pursuing representational painting. I have also completed an exchange program at Chelsea College of Art and Design in the sculpture department. Over time, I have received several degrees like a BFA and MFA.
Going to art school was part of my artistic journey, but I have not learned there to grow a viable, profitable business in the arts.
For that reason, I would not recommend attending an MFA program to everybody— it depends on the personality of each art student. Success depends not on your technical capabilities or where you got your degree. All that´s required is a willingness to take personal responsibility to show up regularly in your studio and start promoting your art. The most crucial factor for an artist is taking action and making order out of the daily chaos to make informed decisions.
Anne Wölk in her studio. Photo courtesy of Anne Wölk.
Which routines—art-making and administrative—are essential to success in your art career?
Since 2019, I have started a new routine to bring order to my artistic production and studio. In recent years, I have become very professional and started archiving all my work and strictly controlling my money flow and finances.
Since then, I’ve made many better-informed decisions because I can better understand which investments were worthwhile and which weren’t. It is also much clearer to see which galleries earn me an income and which only incur transport costs for me.
Hill Sphere by Anne Wölk. Oil and Acrylic on canvas, 19.3 x 19.3 in.
Why did you decide to inventory and archive your artworks?
The main reason [I began inventorying my artwork] was that I wanted to get an overview of which collectors and organizations had acquired works from me to date. I also tried to collect the contact details and wanted to understand my cash flow better.
What advice would you give an emerging artist during this time?
Young artists should document all contacts and sales right from the start. I wish I had insisted on galleries telling me who bought my artwork more often. I have trusted that galleries regularly remind my collectors of me and advertise me and my exhibitions for many years, which was a fatal misconception.
CICA Art Now 2021
November 2021 Produced by CICA Press, Gimpo, Korea
CICA Press, an online and print media issued by CICA Museum, is media for art and culture from the perspective of young culture makers in spirit. CICA Press supports â€œyoungâ€ culture makers, who have passion, critical thought, and desire for creative and experimental expression, regardless of their age and background. We have believed that our inexhaustible passion for art and expression and a reckless rebelliousness can change the world.
CICA Press deals with visual art and culture from perspectives of local artists. To overcome uniform dissemination of contemporary art from the â€œcenter of Art,â€ we aim to introduce local artists and cultures from different regions to global audiences and connect them with each other. CICA Press provides online and offline spaces to create a global network among local artists, designers, audiences, and communities so they can make, appreciate, and live in art in their regions and cultures.
CICA Art Now 2021 features artists from the CICA Contemporary Art Solo Show Series and CICA Young Korean Artists.
Exhibition Review by Shannon Permenter for CICA Press “CICA Art Now 2021”
The review was first published at All Indie Magazine (April 18 2021)
image: Solo Show (April 2021) “Questions for Heaven” at CICA Museum South Korea
Review of Solo Exhibition
Title: “Questions for Heaven” Interstellar Displacement and the Entrancing Work of Anne Wölk
Subheading: Anne Wölk’s recent solo exhibition illuminates our earthly relationships through an exploration into the mysteries and speculative realities of the universe.
Enveloped in the rich blues of the vast universe and the outstretched arms of the galaxies, Berlin based artist Anne Wölk transports us through the nebulae to introduce us to an extraordinary foreign world that is eerily similar to our own. Her recent solo exhibition “Questions for Heaven”, on view in April 2021 at the Czong Institute for Contemporary Art (CICA) in South Korea, subverts the assumed familiarity with the astronomical through striking fictional landscapes that challenge the relationships between human and nature.
When viewing “Questions for Heaven” you suddenly find yourself lost traversing the cosmos; a cohesive journey created through the precision, skill, and passion Wölk infuses into each individual work through her months of dedication. The exhibition, which consists of oil and acrylic pieces from three of Wölk’s most prominent series, explores the universe from its seemingly microscopic details to the vast regions that are beyond our mental grasp.
The viewer begins outstretched to the furthest expanses of the heavens. Works from her Nebulae series create textured, ethereal depictions of the gaseous cloudscapes. Wölk investigates these epicenters of cosmic creation with a gestural nature that transforms these formidable swirling masses into delicate whisps illuminated by the galaxies they embody. The viewer then ventures deeper as they are met with pieces from her Planet Spheres series. These three-dimensional works use acrylic paint on styrofoam spheres producing the sensation that the viewer has encountered this unknown world on their travels through space. The viewer journeys closer to this unfamiliar planet where they view the natural landscape collide against the cosmos. Lastly, the viewer finds themselves grounded in this mysterious world. Quiet mountain landscapes under endless starry skies are met with peculiar scientific architecture. These pieces from the Starscape series show life from the ground on these new planets. As we stare out into the darkness, Earth itself has become a microscopic element lost in the cosmic void.
Wölk brings these intergalactic scenes to life in an interdisciplinary manner that provides familiarity to the viewer. While an inherent painterly romanticism looms over each work it becomes clear that Wölk draws from astronomical photography, such as from the Hubble telescope, and imagery from science fiction that are prevalent throughout modern culture. She builds upon these elements by creating scenes that blur the line between fiction and reality to question the relationship between man and nature. The fictional settings she presents depict neon and LED lights that seem to illuminate the planet’s surface, as a community of space travelers colonizes the land. While immersed in the distant worlds of outer space a digital glow still hovers over the planet’s landscape confronting the viewer with the human need to conquer, develop, and brutalize new environments for their own pursuits highlighting the vulnerability of our home planet. While the viewer of the exhibition has seemingly traveled from the universe’s furthest limits, they are forced to question the interactions held here on Earth.
Labyrinthine networks of stars, effervescent bursts of light, and the otherworldly landscapes have viewers embark on an extraterrestrial journey. For those who visit Anne Wölk’s “Questions for Heaven”, the selection of her works transports us from the comfort of our home on Earth, through the cosmos, and touch down on planets unknown. Wölk’s ability to provide intricate detail in tandem with seemingly immersive fields of color consumes the viewer generating a revelatory experience about the way humans inhabit our world.
image: Solo Show (April 2021) “Questions for Heaven” at CICA Museum South Korea
Interview with artist
Anne Wölk — Arts Illustrated
Interview Questions written by Charles W. Andrews (The Garden Gallery)
Arts Illustrated, LLC
10 N. Hanover Street
Carlisle PA 17013-3013
Posted on December 20, 2021 // Filed Under: Art.
Interview with artist Anne Wölk
1. Who are you and what do you do?
My name is Anne Wölk. I was born in 1982 and raised in former East Germany, in a city named Jena. I create figurative and landscape paintings using traditional methods and scientific imagery to depict a surreal galactic space and sketch a futuristic vision. My work is inspired by Romanticism and Utopia and stands in the tradition of realistic contemporary artists Vija Celmins and Russel Crotty. By layering content from these diverse sources, I create a fantastical interpretation of nature. Working on a finely nuanced palette of blue shades enables me to translate glow and shine into a visual language.
2. Why art?
Art carries this paradox that it can make you dream of the unreal as well as give you a clear vision of reality. The galaxies, skies or surreal worlds I depict are supposed to bring a dream while contemplating a detailed reality. The planetarium in my hometown of Jena was one of the rare places where dreaming about travelling was allowed. By attending countless simulations of stellar skies in the planetarium, a place conceived as a walk-in celestial globe, I experienced the highly enveloping experience of an artificial starry sky at an early age. Art can generate the same experience. My enthusiasm for astronomy and space travel awoke at this place and continues in my work today.
Stone for Eternity
3. What is your earliest memory of wanting to be an artist?
Being an artist was valued in my family and this came naturally as I was growing up, so my earliest memory goes back to when I was just a little girl. I did colour pencil drawings with my grandfather, who was excellent at drawing men’s heads. He was very knowledgeable about the East’s landscapes, with its birch trees and the Baltic region’s coastal formations. While living in East Germany, I regularly studied artworks from Polish landscape painters. I still love the paintings Moose Fighting with Wolves by Julian Fałat (1853–1929), The Old Town Square in Warsaw at Night 1892 by Józef Pankiewicz (1866–1940), and Courtship by Wacław Szymanowski (1859–1930).
4. What are your favorite subject(s) and media(s)?
My paintings predominantly show night sky sceneries with deep and open galaxies. By quoting space telescope images and digital photography resources, I test the margins between art and reality. My depictions attempt to close the photographic information gaps, like digital error glitches. Simultaneously, I sample landscape compositions in a collage technique to envision a possible future. The aim is to present discoveries that the audience might have missed. For instance, I replace the deep light of the old masters with screen colours from backlit screen surfaces and attempt to carry the classic themes of the landscapes into the present and future.
5. How do you work and approach your subject?
I approach painting in a constructive way that aims to create atmospheres and universes. By working with the method of collaging and sampling, a reinvent the scientific reality and establish a vision for the future. In my studio I work with one assistant who helps me to put into practice more extensive projects and track of each piece’s progress. For more exceptional projects, sometimes friends help me with technical advice.
6. What are your favorite art work(s), artist(s)?
Some of my favorite artists are Vija Celmins, Russel Crotty, Angela Bulloch, who inspire my work on an important level. Celmins’s East-European roots and aesthetics resonate with me and my way of seeing and sensing art, especially when focusing on astronomy. Many international futuristic and utopian novels influence my painting motifs and artistic research, such as Return from the Stars by Stanisław Lem and Roadside Picnic by the brothers Arkady and Boris Strugatsky. The artists of today are also a great source of inspiration. I have two drawings by my Dutch colleague, Witte Wartena, and four paintings from my dear friend, Mitja Ficko, from Slovenia.
7. What are the best responses you have had to your work?
I would say when viewers are taken away by contemplation and nearly lose track of time. The colour spectrum of the light in my paintings aim to astonish viewers and take them away to a world of romance and silence. Just like a visual time-travel into another spatial reality.
Le Voyage dans la Lune
8. What do you like about your work?
That I can bring a new way of dreaming to the world and that sometimes I feel like a scientist working to discover new planets and interstellar elements. In my most recent work, I was inspired by Nebulae, interstellar clouds formed of dust, hydrogen, and helium. The paintings exploring this particular cloud will be featured in my next solo exhibition entitled “Momentum in Space”, at the Pantocrator Gallery in Berlin.
9. What advice would you give to other artists?
My best advice is to be perseverant, to invest time, money, and effort into your career. It is also essential to travel and educate yourself. Putting yourself into situations to go out of your comfort zone and expose yourself to different cultures helps to realise how diverse the world truly is. Finally, having a website and sharing your art in the right places with the public is what gives life to your creations.
10. Where do you see yourself in 5-10 years?
My vision is to keep creating vibrant artworks with astonishing visions to spark joy and lead people into a dreamy contemplation. As a creative person, full of energy and love, sharing my passion with others feeds my heart. In 2019, my two-year goal was to produce enough consistent work to fill a new solo exhibition. This is now the case with my upcoming presentation at the Pantocrator Gallery. In my envisioned future, I want to take part in museum-quality shows in international institutions. On a larger scale, I hope my art brings beauty to the world and shows how magnificent nature is.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Anne Wölk (1982, Jena/Germany) was born and raised in former East Germany. She is a figurative painter whose artistic work stands in the tradition of realistic contemporary artists Vija Celmins and Russel Crotty. Committed to an attitude of reskilling, Wölk uses traditional methods and materials. Her paintings predominantly show us night sky scenes with deep and open galaxies. By quoting Spacetelescope images and digital photography resources, Anne Wölk tests the margins between art and reality. In 2006, the young artist entered the international art world at the Contemporary Istanbul Art Fair, when the collector Can Elgiz bought one of her large-scale paintings for the Elgiz Museum of Contemporary Art in Istanbul. Her painting Doggirl was shown in several thematic group exhibitions next to famous artists Cindy Sherman, Tracy Emin, and Sarah Morris. After graduating from art school in 2009, the painter became known for beautiful large-scale landscape paintings and was selected and shortlisted for several international competitions and scholarships. Wölk currently lives and works in Berlin.
Anne Wölks work is featured at the art blog and printed version of Goddessarts Magazine. The blog serves to get to know artists better and to give an honest account of the art journey, setbacks, success and experiences.
Shining alien suns – The visual effects of lighting and atmosphere in deep space
Many of my paintings show star landscapes with deep and open galaxies. I find my motives in astrophotography magazines and work with film stills as quotes from sciencefiction movies. In addition, I use recordings from the Hubble Space Telescope as the starting material for my spherical image compositions. In this sense, I am fascinated by imagery documenting observations of the sky, and I love painting a wide variety of light phenomena. Light plays a fundamental role in our thinking in the form of metaphors and images. To translate terms such as glow, sparkle or shine into a visual language, I use an unusual and finely nuanced palette of blue shades. The current series on celestial globes and star nebulae examines the depth of light in deep space. The untouched nature in the vastness of space is, at the same time, unseen nature and opens up scope for interpretation.
My paintings show the glow of the stars in the nightly darkness as a moment of calm. The colour spectrum of the light is intended to astonish the viewer and take him away toa world of romance and silence.
I do not want to thematise the forlornness of the human being in the great expanse but try to ground the viewer’s gaze in detail. I want to create a visual experience that touches through sensuality and strangeness by exaggerating the pictorial representation.
By working with the method of collaging and sampling, I test the boundaries between art and reality.
As a teenager, I read science fiction novels, such as Return from the Stars by Stanisław Lem and Roadside Picnic by the brothers Arkady and Boris Strugatsky. Since then, I have read tons of science fiction novels with entirely different cultural backgrounds. For that reason, I assembled a vast collection of books, which I have built upon the two first novels.
My artistic work stands in the tradition of American artists Vija Celmins and Russel Crotty. Celmins’s East-European roots and aesthetics resonate with me and my way of seeing and sensing art, especially when focusing on astronomy.
I think my interest in the concepts of travel, including space travel, has something to do with the cultural divide that existed before the fall of the Berlin Wall. It fascinates me to read about past generations of painters, architects, and writers in the former zone of Soviet influence and their limitations concerning travel.
The planetarium in my hometown of Jena was one of the rare places where dreaming about travelling (to the stars) was allowed and not restricted. The town’s main attractions were the simulations of stellar skies and demonstrations of planetary runs at360-degree shows. I attended countless performances in the planetarium during my childhood, a place conceived as a walk-in celestial globe. I experienced the highly enveloping experience of an artificial starry sky at an early age.
My enthusiasm for astronomy and space travel awoke at this place and continues in my work today.
The most significant question over the last 15 years of my career remains the same: How do I make a respectable living in a creative career that does not compromise personal values?
There are different types of artists, and depending on, for instance, the medium used, there may be drastically different production workflows.
My painting process is prolonged because of the many details I try to depict in the vast space. Sometimes it seems that it takes thousands of hours in the year to make my art. It always comes the moment when I get itchy that I will never get my painting finished. Many artists like me work long hours, seven days a week, and hardly ever take holidays.
The main problem is that artists believe – and are often taught – that their primary function is self-expression.
Today, I know that art is a visual language, and its purpose is communication. My challenge is how to meet my needs for self-expression while remaining in contact with my audience and art collectors.
Every day I keep learning about my craft and painting skills because the better I understand them, the less time and effort I will have to expend to finish my next painting for you.
VISIT MY SINGULART PAGE:
5 Minuten mit Anne Wölk – Singulart Magazin
Interview geführt von Annika Nein am 5.8.2021
Interview vom 05.08.2021
Anne Wölk ist eine preisgekrönte Malerin und Zeichnerin aus Deutschland, deren Werke auf nationaler Ebene sowie in der Türkei, Österreich, den USA, Dänemark, Großbritannien, Taiwan, Spanien, China und Südkorea ausgestellt wurden. Ihre Kunst zeigt Sternlandschaften, die die Erforschung des Weltraums und die Suche nach Leben auf anderen Planeten repräsentieren. Wölks Motive sind inspiriert von Beobachtungen des Hubble-Weltraumteleskops und veranschaulichen extraterritoriale Ansichten. SINGULART hat mit der Künstlerin über ihre kreativen Einflüsse und derzeitigen Projekte gesprochen.
Wann wussten Sie, dass Sie Künstlerin werden wollen?
Als ich 13 Jahre alt war, habe ich mit meiner Familie die Sommerausstellung auf der Kunsthochschule Burg Giebichenstein in Halle besucht. Ich fand die alte Burgruine mit Ihrem Rosengarten und den darin befindlichen Skulpturen so romantisch und schön, dass ich mir nichts anderes mehr vorstellen wollte, als an diesem Ort zu lernen und zu studieren. Wie jeder Teenager wollte ich Teil von etwas sein, was die Grenzen des Alltäglichen überwindet und die große Freiheit des persönlichen Ausdrucks bietet. Kunst war von da an immer ein Zufluchtsort, der verheißungsvoll und aufregend war. Mit 16 Jahren habe ich mich dann das erste Mal bei der Aufnahmeprüfung beworben und bin sofort aufgenommen worden.
Würden Sie uns von Ihren künstlerischen Einflüssen erzählen, welche Künstler haben Sie inspiriert?
Da ich an zwei deutschen und einer englischen Kunsthochschule studiert habe, bin ich mit vielen sehr unterschiedlichen Positionen in Berührung gekommen. Seitdem hat sich mein Weg zur selbstständigen Künstlerin Stück für Stück entfaltet. Rückblickend würde ich sagen, dass ich mich mit ebenso vielen Zeitgenossen beschäftigt habe, wie mit Kunstwerken alter Meister. Im Augenblick interessiert mich die künstlerische Arbeits- und Ausdrucksweise der lettisch-amerikanischen Fotorealistin Vija Celmins. Dabei fasziniert mich besonders Ihre Auswahl an Bildausschnitten und ihre langsame und genaue Arbeitsweise. Auch ich fühle mich am produktivsten im Moment der Entschleunigung.
Mögen Sie es lieber alleine oder in einer Kollaboration zu arbeiten?
Seit ungefähr einem Jahr habe ich eine Mitarbeiterin im Atelier. Das ist ein sehr schönes Arbeiten, da sie mir hilft auch komplexere Werke vorzubereiten. In dieser Hinsicht komme ich regelmäßig in die Situation gemeinsam Ideen und Gedanken zur Umsetzung von Kunstwerken auszutauschen. Da meine Assistentin nur einmal die Woche kommt, genieße ich gleichzeitig die Möglichkeit zurückgezogen und introspektiv in meinem Atelier zu malen. Der Beruf des Künstlers ist mit ständigem Termindruck verbunden. Deshalb ist der Malprozess an sich so wichtig, da ich dabei zu vollkommener innerer Ruhe gelange.
Würden Sie uns über Ihr derzeitiges Projekt erzählen – woran arbeiten Sie?
Ich arbeite gerade an einer Einzelpräsentation für den Artwalk Berlin. Ich werde die Schaufenster des Verdis auf der Schönwasser Allee 142 bespielen. In Kürze stelle ich dort einige neue bemalte (Planeten)Kugeln aus. Ich bin sehr dankbar für diese Einladung, besonders in Anbetracht des anhaltenden Lockdowns in Berlin. Der Artwalk ist ein Programmteil des Berliner Festivals Artspring, bei dem Künstler ihre Ateliers für Kunstinteressierte öffnen.
Was würden Sie Ihrer Meinung nach tun, wenn Sie nicht Künstlerin geworden wären?
Ich wäre Altertumsforscherin geworden. Besonders liebe ich die Kulturen Mesopotamiens. Damit denke ich an die Sumerer, Akkader und Babylonier mit Ihren Vermächtnissen in Keilschrift. Mein Lieblingsthema sind die hängenden Gärten von Babylon. Dazu ist ein sehr spannendes Buch von Stephanie Dalley im Jahr 2013 geschrieben wurden. Dieses Sachbuch konnte ich für Monate nicht aus der Hand legen, da ich es so spannend und inspirierend fand.
Haben Sie auf Singulart andere Künstler entdeckt, deren Kunst Sie schätzen oder gar bewundern?
Ich habe viele Künstlerkollegen wieder getroffen, die ich bereits aus Berlin kenne. Zum Beispiel Beate Köhne und Veronika Ban. Aber ich habe auch viele neue spannende Positionen gesehen, wie die zum Beispiel von Casey McKee, dessen Werke gerade mit mir in der SINGULART Sammlung: „Eine außerirdische Kollektion“ zu finden sind.
Welchen Rat würden Sie jungen Künstlern geben, die gerade anfangen und versuchen Fuß zu fassen?
Ich würde raten zu versuchen bei sich zu bleiben. Es ist wichtig, dass man die künstlerische Stimme, die man hat kultiviert und nicht die, die man gerne haben würde. Damit meine ich: Bleibt Euch selber treu und vertraut auf die Menschen, die Eure Kunst mögen und Euch den Rücken stärken!
Vielen Dank für das Interview Anne! Entdecken Sie alle anderen Werke auf dem SINGULART Profil von Anne Wölk.
Von Annika Nein am 5.8.2021
Artist Talk and Interview for High School TV of Zespół Szkół Nr 1 im. Henryka Sienkiewicza, Kolberg, Polen
Dziś grupa młodzieży naszej szkoły wyruszyła na 7. edycję warsztatów artystycznych Art Camp w Berlinie Pankow. Przez tydzień tworzyć będziemy makietę Pałacu Nadbrzeżnego wraz z ogrodem różanym oraz brać udział w warsztacie teatralno-filmowym. Ahoj przygodo!
Dziś mieliśmy okazję zwiedzić atelier berlińskiej malarki Anne Wölk. Było to bardzo ciekawe i inspirujące spotkanie
Internationales Art Camp an der Jugendkunstschule Pankow vom 12. bis 18. September 2021
Bereits zum 7. Mal findet an der Jugendkunstschule Pankow (JUKS), Neue Schönholzer Straße 10, 13187 Berlin, das internationale Art Camp statt. Traditionell kommen Jugendliche aus der polnischen Partnerstadt Kolberg mit Pankower Schüler:innen zusammen und werden gemeinsam kreativ, tauschen sich aus und können so den europäischen Gedanken ganz direkt erleben.
Im Rahmen von künstlerischen Workshops zu Theater, Fotografie und Video sowie zu 3D-Druck und Objektbau finden sich die Jugendlichen zu gemeinsamen Projekten zusammen und erarbeiten zu verschiedenen Themen Inszenierungen, Bilder und Objekte.
Bezirksbürgermeister Sören Benn fördert den kulturellen Austausch: „Es freut mich, dass nach der langen Kontaktpause wieder direkte Begegnungen von Jugendlichen beider Städtepartner möglich sind. Das gemeinsame künstlerische Schaffen unterstützt das gegenseitige Verstehen und ermöglicht persönliche Begegnungen über Sprach- und Kulturgrenzen hinweg.“
Auch Schulstadtrat Dr. Torsten Kühne ergänzt: „Nach der schwierigen Phase der Kontaktbeschränkungen freue ich mich, dass nunmehr auch das traditionsreiche ArtCamp der Jugendkunstschule Pankow wieder stattfinden kann. Schüler:innen aus Kolberg – der polnischen Partnerstadt des Bezirks – und aus Pankow kommen in diesem Camp zusammen, um eine Woche lang in Workshops künstlerisch und kreativ zu arbeiten. Neben der künstlerischen Arbeit stehen auch der Austausch und das Miteinander im Mittelpunkt der zahlreichen Aktivitäten.”
Am Freitag, dem 17. September 2021 um 13 Uhr werden die Ergebnisse der Workshops in einer öffentlichen Ausstellung in den Räumen des Theaters der Jugendkunstschule präsentiert. Dabei wird auch ein 3D-Modell des ehemaligen Wasserschlosses von Kolberg zu sehen sein.
Zur Präsentation sind Besucher:innen herzlich eingeladen.
Tel.: 030 49 97 99 52 und email@example.com zur Verfügung.Weitere Informationen: www.juks-pankow.de/
19.05.2021 DAS WUNDER DES LEBENS
Anne Wölk – Deep Space Exploration – Erkenntnis und Erfahrungsprozess im Tiefenraum
Exhibition Review by Shannon Permenter for All Indie Magazine (April 18 2021)
07.04.2021, Limelight Artist of the month, Artourney Award, Rotterdam
Who is Anne and what does she do?
I was born and raised in former East Germany and I’m a figurative painter whose artistic work stands in the tradition of realistic contemporary artists Vija Celmins and Russel Crotty. Committed to an attitude of reskilling, this landscape painter uses traditional methods and materials.
I develop my compositions from a perspective of observations of the sky and paints a wide variety of light phenomena. My painting process is an artistic translation of terms such as glow and shine into a visual language. For that reason, I work on an unusual and finely nuanced palette of blue shades. The colour spectrum of the light in her paintings astonishes viewers and takes them away to a world of romance and silence.
In this context, my subject matter speaks of the imagery of futuristic science and astronomy, which we have only become familiar with from the advances of satellites, cameras, and computer-generated images. By layering content from these diverse sources, I create a fantastical interpretation of nature, in which the simultaneity of Romanticism and Utopia becomes perceptible.
What is your background?
Being an artist always had great value in my family. Even as a little girl, I did colour pencil drawings with my grandfather. He was incredibly good at drawing men’s heads. His family came originally from East Prussian Königsberg, modern-day Kaliningrad. He knew a lot about the East’s landscapes, with its birch trees and the Baltic region’s coastal formations. While living in East Germany, I regularly studied artworks from Polish landscape painters. I still love the paintings Moose Fighting with Wolves by Julian Fałat (1853–1929), The Old Town Square in Warsaw at Night 1892 by Józef Pankiewicz (1866–1940), and Courtship by Wacław Szymanowski (1859–1930).
At the age of 13, I visited an open house exhibition at the Burg Giebichenstein Art Academy in Halle for the first time in my life. I immediately fell in love with the old castle ruins and the rose garden in the middle of the castle courtyard. It appeared to me like an ivory tower in a kind of nutshell compared to a grey and often hectic urban world.
At that time, I already decided to study art. The moment I turned 16 years old, I tried to apply to art school and was immediately accepted into the painting class of Ute Pleuger.
After three years of studying in this sheltered environment, I felt the need to see a little more of the art world. I moved to the University of Fine Arts Berlin-Weissensee and the Chelsea College of Fine Art and Design, London.
In 2006, I found my first gallery representation in Berlin and exhibited at my first Art Fair called Contemporary Istanbul. On this occasion, Can Elgiz purchased one of my large-scale paintings into the Elgiz Museum collection.
From this point on, I expanded my exhibition activity at an international level, with various group shows in the USA, Great Britain, Spain, Denmark, Slovenia, Turkey, and many other countries.
What does art mean to you?
My paintings predominantly show night sky sceneries with deep and open galaxies. By quoting space telescope images and digital photography resources, I test the margins between art and reality.
With my motives, I try to close the photographic information gaps, like digital error glitches. Simultaneously, I sample landscape compositions in a collage technique to envision a future that’s not here yet.
For me, the process of painting is nothing destructive anymore. Instead, I experience myself as a creator of atmospheres and universes.
I understand the profession of a visual artist as something which brings new thinking and generosity to the world. Therefore I try to be someone who does human work that changes another life for the better.
That includes becoming an innovator in my artistic field of landscape painting. I wish to present discoveries that the audience might have missed. For instance, I replace the deep light of the old masters with screen colours from backlit screen surfaces and attempt to carry the classic themes of the landscapes into the present and future.
What do you think art means to people in general? What is the importance of art in the world?
In my opinion, my paintings have value and bring joy to others. At the same time, I am convinced that my landscape pieces are not for everybody. That means my futuristic mountain scenes are for people who experience themselves as visionaries and future enthusiasts.
My clients often build lifelong relationships with works of art. Some of my collectors told me that my paintings are growing with their lives. Nevertheless, deeper layers of understanding are necessary. Why does buying contemporary art, in general, bring pleasure to collectors? Often, producing art means producing luxury items. I have to admit that not everybody in the world can afford art or needs art to live a good and satisfying life. Visual art is essential for artists and their like-minded peers.
The painting process helps me to calm down. Over the years, I have learned how to relax from the stressful outside world during the creation process.
How do you work?
I work with one assistant in my studio. She helps me to realise and put into practice more extensive projects. Currently, I am planning to create 10 to 15 works of art in the future. With her help, I can confidently fill larger exhibition spaces, and my assistant helps me keep track of each piece’s progress. For more extraordinary projects, sometimes friends help me with technical advice. Recently, I was given a motor with which one moves disco balls. Thanks to my friend’s dedication and inventiveness, I can now set my planetary spheres in rotation in the exhibition room.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
Many of my works show the world at night. People have felt touched by the magic of the stars at all times and in all cultures. My landscape motives represent an attempt to translate the longing to travel to the stars into the painting’s specific language.
I am fascinated by science fiction stories about space travel and cyberspace. Involved in the society of digital culture, I alter film stills and photographs from the Hubble Space Telescope and integrate them into my compositions and personal painting cosmos. During my childhood, I saw a seemingly infinite number of simulations of stellar skies and demonstrations of planetary runs at 360-degree shows at the planetarium in my hometown of Jena. Jena was the centre for laser and optics technology in the former GDR. This formative experience continually influenced my fascination with science fiction and space travel. Picturing the future can be absorbing. Since the start of the technological age, science fiction has acted as a reflection of the public’s hopes and anxieties about the future.
My main interest is space travel and in the search for life on other planets and moons outside our solar system. As a child, I found the astronomers’ results extremely unsatisfying concerning the search for potentially habitable worlds in our universe. That’s why I became interested in science fiction novels: I had a deep longing for more.
During the 1980s, scientists could not prove the existence of planets in other star systems. The first exoplanets were discovered as early as the 1980s, but at that time, they were either classified as brown dwarfs (HD 114762 b) or temporarily discarded due to the still-inadequate measurement accuracy.
In 1992, three planets outside the solar system orbiting the pulsar PSR 1257 + 12 could be confirmed.
Which artist or artwork inspires you most? (what kind of art do you have at your own home?)
I live with two drawings by my Dutch colleague, Witte Wartena, and four paintings from my dear friend, Mitja Ficko, from Slovenia.
Name 3 artists you would like to be compared to
Vija Celmins, Russel Crotty, Angela Bulloch
What do you hope to achieve in your art career?
I am building my art career with the vision of having a vibrant artwork production in my bright and beautiful artist studio. As a creative person, full of energy and love, I am sharing my passion with others to spark joy in their hearts. Using my art as a way of sharing values and beliefs with others feeds my heart. I aim to become a well-known professional artist and do the best work I can. In my envisioned future, I get regularly invited to take part in museum-quality shows in international institutions. Five international galleries represent my art and regularly sell my works at art fairs in Europe and the States.
What do you like and dislike about the artworld?
Year 2021, Issue 2
Lit mag publishing art, poetry, and short prose with a
Editor-in-Chief: Bri Bruce
Featured Visual Artists: Katie Ryan, Vian Borchert, Marina Savashynskaya Dunbar, Liliana Martinez Saucedo, Jenny Siegel, Andy Hann, Kristin Indorato, Amy Aiken, Jocelyn Ulevicus, Emily Gillcrist, Sol Anzorena, Alessandra Abbruzzese, Lucie Van Der Elst, Neil Berkowitz, Azlinda Kamarudzaman, Anashrita Henckel, Camilla Taylor, Suwichada Busamrong Press, Ami J. Sanghvi, Vanessa Pejovic, Connor Doyle, Natali Herrera-Pacheco, Margaret Dries, Jason Engelund, Tic Ikram, Whitney River, Martha Nance, Benjamin Erlandson, Kenneth Johnson, John A. Blythe, Lilian Shtereva, S. E. Bachinger, Michelle Boucher, Weihui Lu, Lawrence Bridges, William Bybee, Wes Riddle, Alice Fritz, Anne Wölk, Max Van der Wal
AVAILABLE NOW ONLINE & IN PRINT!
ISSN: 2693-5856 (Print)
more info: https://www.humanaobscura.com
Anne Wölk (1982, Jena/Germany) was born and raised in former East Germany. Wölk currently lives and works in Berlin. She is a figurative painter whose artistic work stands in the tradition of realistic contemporary artists Vija Celmins and Russel Crotty.
Committed to an attitude of reskilling, Wölk uses traditional methods and materials. Her paintings predominantly show us night sky scenes with deep and open galaxies. By quoting Spacetelescope images and digital photography resources, Anne Wölk tests the margins between art and reality.
Parts of Wölk’s family came originally from East Prussian Königsberg, modern-day Kaliningrad. Through their cultural roots and characteristics, the artist sees herself as a wanderer between different worlds of Eastern and Western culture. During her childhood, she often came into contact with paintings by Baltic and Russian landscape painters.
With her ongoing exhibition activity in the USA and her extensive exchange of ideas with American artists, Wölk’s fantastical landscapes are characterized by a multicultural character and show German, Baltic, Russian, and American elements.
In 2006, the young artist entered the international art world at the Contemporary Istanbul Art Fair. The collector Can Elgiz bought one of her large-scale paintings for the Elgiz Museum of Contemporary Art in Istanbul. Her painting Doggirl was shown in several thematic group exhibitions next to famous artists Cindy Sherman, Tracy Emin, and Sarah Morris.
Later on, Anne Wölk received an MFA from the School of Art and Design Berlin and was a BFA student at the Chelsea College of Art and Design in London.
After graduating from art school in 2009, the painter became known for beautiful large-scale landscape 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 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, including the Elgiz Museum of Contemporary Art, Istanbul, Turkey; the CICA Art Museum South Korea; the Zeiss-Planetarium Berlin, Germany; 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, 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; Alfa Gallery Miami, USA; and The Residence Gallery, London, UK.
In October 2013, Anne Wölk won the Category Award for the ArtPrize competition ‘Art Takes Paris’, judged by directors from The Andy Warhol Museum in New York, Lisson Gallery, and the Marianne Boesky Gallery. In 2017, Wölk was announced as the Showcase Juried Winner in the painting category of the 9th Artslant Prize. Her painting ‘Virtual light’ was selected by a jury consisting of Natalia Zuluaga (Artistic Director of ArtCenter/ South Florida), Nathaniel Hitchcock (co-organizer of the Bass Museum of Art) and Malose Malahela (co-founder of Keleketa! Library). Two years later, the painter participated in the finalists’ exhibition of the art competition Art Revolution in Taipei, Taiwan.
How would you define yourself as an artist?
I predominantly create fantastical landscape sceneries, and I see myself as an artist rooted in painting. The surfaces I work on are canvases and Styrofoam. My passion for space and its exploration developed at a young age. My dream of traveling to faraway planets was nurtured by reading science fiction books and seeing simulations of stellar skies at 360-degree shows at the planetarium in my hometown, Jena.
Nowadays, I can say that the consumption of utopian novels and movies has strongly influenced my painting motifs and has shaped me as an artist. My recent artworks show extraterrestrial worlds and reflect on ideas about space colonization and terraforming. As a visual storyteller, I am fascinated by the search for life on other planets, and I try to convey my imaginations into figurative art. Inside the cosmos of painting, it is very simple to let fantasies come true. By creating starscapes, I share my desire for the intangible beauty of the universe with my audience and leave it as a gift. Sometimes that means refining the elusive sparkle of stars or depicting their infinitely deep glow with my brush, could be understood as a very personal implementation of my early childhood dream of traveling into space.
What kind of education or training helped you develop your skillset?
I started my education in the class of Ute Pleuger, a German conceptual painter with a focus on architecture. ‘What you see is what you see’ was the first quote I heard at art school from my professor. The statement was borrowed from the internationally renowned painter Frank Stellar and meant to convince young art students like me to follow the path of formalism and conceptual art. At that time, figurative art was banned and only accepted in the form of life drawing in undergraduate classes to develop composition skills. In these intellectual surroundings, I have learned that if I want to be a success as an artist, I have to accept that art only speaks to its audience with a clear conceptual idea. Execution in terms of the right choice of material comes second, and artistic skills like painting craftsmanship could be meaningful in the sense of understanding color and paint as material properties.
I passed the entrance exam in the painting department at the Art College Burg Giebichstein one and a half years before I made my A-level exam in high school. I think it was the result of an early career decision. At the age of 15, I already knew that I wanted nothing but to become a painter. In my freshman year, I was the youngest student, and I was always afraid of mindset manipulation and guru techniques from the dominant teacher. In my view, artists listen to the inner voice that drives them to create. My inner voice is very critical, which helps me with designing and executing new and better artworks.
From the beginning, I have received some scholarships and small awards, like the scholarship of the national Studienstiftung des Deutschen Volkes. Winning a scholarship was a stepping stone into the indispensable support system for artists. The money allowed me to travel and educate myself. It forced me to go out of my comfort zone and exposed me to different cultures, which helped me realize how diverse our world truly is.
Three years living in Halle was enough for me, and I continued my studies in Berlin. I completed my education at the Academy of Art and Design in Berlin in 2009.
In Berlin, as a student of Katharina Grosse, I have enjoyed the purest idea of the painting process – the synchronicity of acting and thinking. In her class, I naturally came into contact with the concept that a painting can land on any surface. An Exchange semester in a sculpture class at Chelsea College of Art and Design in London had a powerful influence on me and guided my work in entirely new directions. In London, I gained a better understanding of volume and negative space.
Today, I have learned a lot from the monochromatic night sky drawings of the American artist Vija Celmins. I find her quiet and precise work to be incredibly inspiring, deep, and complex. By studying her work, I have realized that what we don’t understand forces us to take a closer look. Although I have studied with professors from the western hemisphere, I still feel attracted to reskilling, discipline, and craftmanship. I see these strongly reflected in Celmin’s artistic approach.
What experience in your life would you say is reflected in your works of art?
I was born in 1982 in the former German Democratic Republic (GDR) on the edge of the zone of Soviet influence. Living in the shadow of the wall left only a few memories. Still, until today, I find myself enveloped in a cloud of disturbing and dark stories. My parents and grandparents cannot get over their psychological wounds caused by having their freedom restricted and being prevented from realizing their dreams. Their memories are in great contradiction to the mainstream narrative of living in the former GDR, which influenced my worldview.
I often think of my mother, who is full of anger to this day whenever she talks about her experience when visiting family members in West Germany. The government did not allow her to take me with her to make sure she had a reason to return to the GDR. Her own country treated her like a criminal and gave her a constant feeling of vulnerability. That is why my mother taught me early on what it means to be free to travel wherever you want and what opportunities this freedom opens up. She always supported my efforts to pursue an international career.
The people of my parents’ generation had artworks, books, theatres, and movies to go to places in their heads. The planetarium in my hometown of Jena was rare, too, where dreaming about traveling (to the stars) was allowed and not restricted. The simulations of stellar skies and demonstrations of planetary runs were the town’s main attractions and an integral part of kindergarten and school trips. During my childhood, I saw an infinite number of shows about the history of our solar system. Jena was the city where the planetarium was invented by the engineer Walther Bauersfeld by the order of Carl Zeiss. My hometown was the center for laser and optics technology in the former GDR. Until 1990, the presentations were under the control of Soviet influence and were sometimes used as a vehicle for heroic Russian space race propaganda. After the fall of the Berlin Wall, the planetarium’s presentations integrated more and more images depicting the viewers’ emotional intelligence. They focused on the wonder of our visible and currently known universe in their science program for children and young adults.
In the present time, inspired by these early experiences, I find my motifs by using photographs of telescopes. More precisely, that means that I translate photographic material from the Hubble Space Telescope and Europe’s CHEOPS satellite into paintings. The enthusiasm with which people search for life in space stimulates my studio work and is part of the underlying mood in my visual worlds.
Nocturnal landscapes, nature, architecture, and especially LED-lights are found in most of your work. Could you tell us about the symbology behind your interpretation?
Art, in its purest sense, is an attempt to construct a parallel world with different horizons of opportunity. The focus of my artistic research is the process of recreation of reality. My working method is characterized by the employment of collage techniques and the layering of landscapes with juxtaposed objects and playing with light. In this sense, I try to bring forward a fantastical interpretation of the current and future possibilities of civilized environments grounded in scientific discoveries.
The motifs are inspired by telescopic observations and illustrate a world of extraterritorial views. My nocturnal landscapes combine pop-sci-fi visual references, such as space stations or LED light beams. The use of light is meant to carry properties similar to street lights from digital advertising and the eerie reality of our worlds being monitored and guided by forces larger than us. My paintings bring forth recurring questions: What will our habitation look like on other planets? Will we continue to embrace our technological advances in space? Will our future be a utopia or dystopia?
Architectural elements are included in my compositions when dealing with the futuristic designs of the Bauhaus-related VKhUTEMAS movement. In general, I adore the union of the artistic and technical vision of the Russian Avant-Garde. In 2015, a comprehensive and extensive exhibition was held at the Martin Gropius Bau in Berlin. I saw many detailed architectural drawings of future city ideas and space colonies next to the historical background information of Russian Avant-Garde Futurism.
Where did you get your inspiration from? What sources did you use?
Next to historical art influences, many international futuristic and utopian novels have strongly influenced my painting motifs and artistic research. As a teenager, I have read science fiction novels such as Return from the Stars by Stanisław Lem and Roadside Picnic by the brothers Arkady and Boris Strugatsky. Since then, I have read tons of science fiction novels with completely different cultural backgrounds. For that reason, I have a vast collection of books, which I have built upon the two first novels I have mentioned previously.
One of my favorite novels, which addresses the main points of my subject matter, is Neuromancer (1984) by William Gibson. Gibson predicted cyberspace, which is structured similarly to our Internet. But in contrast to today’s flat monitor experience, cyberspace can be accessed as a location. The idea of traveling to the stars via augmented reality is of great interest to me in the same way as a structured space composition in paintings. I am currently reading Children of Time by Adrian Tchaikovsky. The novel addresses the big themes of space colonization, gods, messiahs, and artificial intelligence.
The search for life in space was, for a long time, science fiction. But the fast evolution of computer and lens technologies have allowed this to become a reality. Astronomers have discovered more than 2,500 other stars with planets orbiting them in the Milky Way galaxy. Our solar system is just one specific planetary system consisting of a star with planets orbiting around it. On January 6, 2020, NASA reported TOI 700 d, the first Earth-sized exoplanet in the TESS’s habitable zone. The exoplanet orbits the star TOI 700, 100 light-years away in the Dorado constellation.
Your work explores futuristic science and technology, which we have only become familiar with from the advances of satellites and cameras, and in cinematography and computer-generated images. How do you progress from sketching your ideas to presenting a final project? What gives your work such a unique expression?
Nebulae, which are formed from interstellar clouds of dust, hydrogen, and helium, are a great source of inspiration for me. They are symbols of aesthetic contemplation – of pure and true beauty in nature. By quoting details from photographs made by a machine, like the Hubble Telescope, I experience a constant need to close the technical gaps of information in the machine-made image with something real, like material paint. In this sense, I develop my craft by layering photo-realistic details on top of a loosely abstract layer of flowing color. My painting motives are in a constant shift between abstraction and realism. I develop my composition from drawings and a vast collection of astronomical photography and film stills from science-fiction movies.
What do you see as the strengths of your pieces, visually or conceptually?
Conceptual thinking and a commitment to painting craftsmanship are the main strengths of my artistic approach.
My artworks should get stuck in the head. By that, I mean, a painting has to be more than “only” technically perfect. It should own something special like an independent sole, that is difficult to put into words, but that only turns art into “art.” My motives are magical and somehow crazy in their way, like the landscapes in dreams and opposing associate terms such as bright and quiet, attractive, and a little scary.
Through my cultural roots, I experience myself as a part of two different worlds, having both Eastern and Western cultural influences. My recent body of work is the culmination of a long year of search for my painting language. During my childhood, I often came into contact with paintings by East-European and Russian landscape painters. My grandfather was the first person to promote my interest in drawing. He taught me basic rules for studying nature and understanding proportions. He came from the East-Prussian Königsberg, modern-day Kaliningrad. After World War II, he was banned from his home city for his lifetime. He spoke Russian fluently and told endless stories about Kaliningrad and the great displacement. I remember him as an ambitious draftsman. During my early childhood, he influenced me with his drawings and portraits full of Baltic Romanticism and melancholy. His Refugee Traumata still influences the cosmos of my paintings. Although I belong to a different time and generation, the Baltic melancholy has inscribed itself into my artworks, like a different melody.
Is there a piece you consider a ‘breakthrough’ in your work, in terms of approach or subject matter?
My painting Doggirl (2006) was the first artwork of mine that was purchased by a museum. At that time, it represented a kind of breakthrough for me. I took my first steps into the international art world. A Berlin-based gallery showed two of my artworks at the Contemporary Istanbul Art Fair. On this occasion, the collector Can Elgiz bought one of my large scale paintings for the Elgiz Museum of Contemporary Art in Istanbul. It was one of these rare lucky moments during an artist’s career. It happened when I was a completely unknown 24-year-old student from a little-recognized East German art college with no degree at the time. The purchased painting was shown in several thematic group exhibitions next to artwork by famous artists Cindy Sherman, Tracey Emin, and Sarah Morris. Later on, a museum assistant told me that the museum staff and curator simply liked the artwork’s figuration and paint handling. That was the main reason they had included it in various art shows.
Another important artwork for me was my first 3-dimensional painting on a styrofoam sphere in 2019. It is titled Second Earth and was first shown last year at my solo show Astral, at tête gallery space in Berlin. The work is a 40cm styrofoam sphere coated in a galaxy of acrylic paints. The cool blue palette presents a mountain-scape paired with a deep night sky above. Reminiscent of a snow globe, Second Earth offers an icy view of a melancholic landscape and refers to the theme’ life beyond earth,’ showing a territory many light-years away. It is conceptually inspired by scientific investigations of new colonies on life-friendly planets. It addresses the power structure of who will have access to a potential planet B. The sphere was just the beginning of a new artwork series consisting of seven spheres, referring to a planetary system.
How do you see the project evolving in the next five years? Are you excited or scared of the future?
Honestly, right now, I am more scared than optimistic. In the mid-2020, the art community still finds itself in an exceptional and very unusual situation. I see and hear about the ongoing collapse of the gallery system and nonprofit institutions. Endless journalists, curators, and gallery owners play mandatory roles as the so-called support system of artists. I pray every day that as many people as possible survive this crisis.
For my future, I hope I can become even closer to my work. Fewer distractions by cultural events can probably lend to a more focused time in my studio. As we artists adjust to the new normal, we are all finding alternate ways to make the most of our time. Nevertheless, I prefer to work on concrete projects than focus on potential opportunities.
I am very excited about my next project, which is the creation of a series of painted styrofoam spheres. The idea was born in 2019 with my artwork Second Earth. It started as an experiment and will expand into a site-specific installation consisting of seven pieces. The spheres should represent a planet system and bring forth a body of work that grew from exploring territories of potential utopia in outer space. The three-dimensional paintings refer to possibly habitable exoplanets in the red dwarf system of TRAPPIST-1. The star TRAPPIST–1 was first discovered in 1999 by astronomer John Gizis. Since then, astronomers found out that the system has seven planets. Three of these planets are in the theoretical ‘habitable zone,’ the area around a star where rocky planets are most likely to hold liquid water.
Over the years, I have learned that time management and a long-term strategy is essential for a sustainable art career. When I step back and look at the bigger picture, I can tell you that I’m working on a 6-month, 2-year, and 5-year plan. My 6-month goal is to paint for my upcoming exhibition projects until the end of the year. That means that my two-year goal is to produce enough consistent work to fill a new solo exhibition. I am also planning the creation of a dome with canvas works included, but now, this seems to be more of a five-year project.
Any shows, galleries, or publications where our readers can find your work?
Raúl Alvaro from Pantocrator Gallery invited me to present some of my recent paintings at the Swab Art Fair 2020 in October. The Art Fair will be held online because of the coronavirus pandemic. The virtual tour will be online from 1 to October 15 on their homepage: https://swab.es
On November 13, my painting ‘Virtual Light‘ (2017) will be part of the Rotary Charity Auction in Munich. I am happy when the artwork finds its new home at an art collector’s house and, of course, when my art raises money to help other people.
In December, I am looking forward to my first solo exhibition at the Czong Institute for Contemporary Art (CICA Art Museum) in South Korea. The artworks of the show will be documented in the CICA Art Now 2020 publication, which will be released in January 2021.
There are many galleries and nonprofit art centers that try to help artists by organizing online events. I currently take part in several online exhibitions, such as Booth 07 at the Alfa Gallery (Miami, Florida, USA) and the Engravist Printmaking Bienal (Istanbul, Turkey). The ongoing support touches me for my galleries and the online engagement from my audience.
You can learn more about upcoming projects and new works on my Instagram and on my homepage.
Anne, can I visit your studio?
I would love for you to visit my studio. Feel free to drop me a line if you want to see new works, and I will show you my process in the workroom.
At the beginning of August, I will move into a bigger space in a different district in Berlin. It is located in a brand-new studio house for visual artists at Gehringstrasse 39 in Berlin Weissensee. I am thrilled to have the opportunity to paint in an affordable and substituted workspace. The studio belongs to The Studio Office of the Kulturwerk of the BBK. It allows me to develop my work further even in times of crisis as we are now experiencing the coronavirus pandemic. The Studio Office has made a long-term commitment to securing places for the artistic production of visual art in Berlin.
by Michaela Richter,
(Head of Communication and Public Program and
Curator at Neuer Berliner Kunstverein – nbk)
The blue light that keeps us awake at night
Text by Michaela Richter, (Neuer Berliner Kunstverein) Head of Communication and Public Program, Curator
In 1336, the Italian poet and historian Francesco Petrarca (Petrarch) wrote his letter, The Ascent of Mont Ventoux, and in doing so, for the first time, gave account of a mountain hike that was not a necessity but was based solely on the urge to “see this exceptionally high place.”1
On the threshold of modern times, Petrarch’s narrative documents a new kind of landscape experience, which is characterized by a sense of the world and attaches an integral value to the aesthetic of the natural—motifs that still involve a fascination with supposedly untouched regions of the world. Today, Petrarch, who is considered to be the founder of alpinism due to his undertaking, is succeeded by lines of mountain climbers on Mount Everest, a demonstration of sporting ambition, hunger for adventure or need for validity that borders on the absurd. At the same time, the images of the experience they are chasing have long since become ubiquitous; every PC has a range of pre-installed desktop backgrounds in which deserts, waterfalls and, last but not least, remote mountain regions shine in overwhelming splendour.
Anne Wölk has taken on the special magic that emanates from this type of depiction and that especially has a “glow” emanating not only from the depiction’s impressiveness.
Rather, certain stylistic devices—efficacious colourfulness and lighting—are what give the feature an outstanding brilliance, making it appear even more desirable yet unreachable. In times of social media, such image manipulations are ubiquitous as filter functions, their existence is well known to contemporary viewers and their use is almost demanded—where photographs are less true than ever, they must at least be spectacular to survive in consumer society. Image competition in digital modernism is characterized by high-contrast staging sharpened in colour by the light of the screens, captivating us.
In the paintings of her body of work, Virtual Infinity (since 2017), Anne Wölk seizes the impetus of the virtual and uses specific painting techniques as well as narrative picture elements that create astonishment in the face of fantastic scenarios. The artist lets extremes meet: Impressively illuminated, attention-grabbing foregrounds—the jagged rocky landscapes of snow-capped mountain ranges, views of the earth’s surface—are presented simultaneously with the hypnotizing deep blue of space, where individual stars and entire nebulae sparkle.
The virtual infinity mentioned in the series’ title corresponds to the reality of the firmament—among other things, the artist uses images transmitted through the Hubble telescope for her pictures, which provide visually abstracted access to places that cannot be physically reached.
Wölk is not concerned with creating perfect illusionism, but rather with equipping her pictures with a certain atmosphere that responds to the radiance of digital realities. The artist is fascinated by science-fiction literature and its ability to have predicted our present in many aspects. In his pioneering neuromancer trilogy (1984–1988), William Gibson coined the term cyberspace, an immersive virtual parallel universe as it exists today in the form of the Internet. The idea came to him when he watched two children engrossed in a video game and got the impression that they not only wanted to control the game but wanted to be part of it. Against the background of the incipient ubiquity of personal computers, Gibson sensed that someday everyone would want to also live their lives in digital space: “Everyone is going to have one of these […] and everyone is going to want to live inside them.”2
In works such as Multiverse (2018) or Virtual Light (2017), Anne Wölk creates plateaus in light neon gradients that are reminiscent of computer game background images—visually appealing and yet vacuous, they invite you to dwell on the elements clearly arranged on top of them. In Wölk’s works, these in turn derive from an earthly and original living environment: Next to slender birch and pine trunks are simple shelters that look like remnants of a civilization that once aspired to the “cosmos”. While the mind first wanders into the distance based on an aesthetic inspired by game design—the pastel rainbow colour gradients, the promising starry sky in the background and the objects floating like dream symbols in the visual space—the emptiness and isolation that characterize the picture and its narrative content lend it a dystopian undertone.
Time and again, Anne Wölk sets the majestic and contemplative character of her works alongside moments of irritation, thus referring the viewer to the longing for the beautiful appearance in and of itself. In the work Astral (2019), the mountain and natural landscape is intersected by a grid, as can be seen in virtual reality spaces when you reach the limits of digital simulation.
This is known, among other things, from the science-fiction series Star Trek, in which it adorns the “holodeck”, which can be used to enter any virtual world. Here, the ambivalence between the vastness of the universe and the limited access to it becomes clear in a special way—even on a spaceship like the USS Enterprise, which is supposed to explore unknown areas of space, some things can only be reached virtually.
The universes that Anne Wölk conjures up in her pictures are reminiscent of escapism, a thirst for discovery and dominance of technology—not just on an interstellar level. For example, in the impressive mountain landscapes in Milky Way (2018), Alpenglow I & II (2019), Scope and Vision (2019) or Day Break (2019), floodlights and coloured fluorescent tubes can be found, disturbing the idyll and at the same time artistically illuminating it. As foreign bodies, they refer to a reality in which everything has been conquered by humans and designed according to their taste—their beloved glow effect is carried everywhere. Above all, it serves to set an example, to mark meaningfulness and to call attention.
Anne Wölk demonstrates in particular the attractiveness of coloured light, which makes the unique appear even more special—or that which has long been available or well-known but should still have a touch of uniqueness added. Last but not least, this effect is used by our virtual selves or avatars, those artificial personalities also described for the first time by science fiction, which represent a certain version of one’s self online. Among other things, they communicate what seems desirable to them and ensure the constant availability of captivating, well-staged images that leave their mark and remind us of the possibility of descending into other worlds. Wölk’s works allude to the need for authentic experiences that is kept alive here, as well as to the perpetuated desire to lose or distinguish oneself in the face of something bigger—be it on a mountain or on the Internet.
Das blaue Licht, das uns nachts nicht schlafen lässt
1336 verfasst der italienische Poet und Geschichtsschreiber
Francesco Petrarca seinen Brief Die Besteigung des Mont Ventoux
und berichtet damit zum ersten Mal von einer Bergwanderung,
die nicht aus Notwendigkeit geschieht, sondern allein auf dem Drang
basiert, „diesen außergewöhnlich hohen Ort zu sehen.“1
Petrarcas Erzählung dokumentiert an der Schwelle zur Neuzeit
eine neue Art der Landschaftserfahrung, die von Weltergriffenheit geprägt ist und der Ästhetik des Natürlichen einen eigenen Wert beimisst –
Motive, die auch heute noch eine Faszination mit vermeintlich unberührten Weltgegenden nach sich ziehen. Auf Petrarca, der aufgrund seiner Unternehmung als Begründer des Alpinismus gilt, folgen heute Schlangen von Bergsteigerinnen auf dem Mount Everest, eine ans Absurde grenzende Demonstration von sportlichem Ehrgeiz, Erlebnishunger oder Geltungsbedürfnis. Zugleich sind die Bilder der Erfahrung, der sie hinterherjagen, längst allgegenwärtig geworden, auf jedem PC findet sich eine Palette vorinstallierter Desktophintergründe, in denen den Userinnen Wüsten, Wasserfälle und eben nicht zuletzt abgelegene Bergregionen in
überwältigender Pracht entgegenleuchten.
Anne Wölk hat sich der speziellen Magie angenommen, die von
dieser Art von Darstellungen ausgeht und die in besonderem Maße
auf einem „Glow“ beruht, der nicht nur von der Eindrücklichkeit des Abgebildeten selbst ausgeht.
Vielmehr sind es bestimmte Stilmittel – eine wirkungsvolle Farbigkeit und Lichtsetzung – die dem Gezeigten einen herausragenden Glanz verleihen,
es noch begehrlicher und zugleich unerreichbar erscheinen lassen. Als Filterfunktionen sind derartige Bildmanipulationen in Zeiten von Social Media allgegenwärtig, ihre Existenz ist heutigen Bildbetrachterinnen durchaus bewusst und ihr Einsatz wird nahezu eingefordert – wo Fotografien weniger als je zuvor wahrhaftig sind, haben sie wenigstens spektakulär zu sein, um in der Konsumgesellschaft zu bestehen. Die Bildkonkurrenz in der Digitalmoderne ist geprägt von kontrastreichen, durch das Licht der Screens in ihren Farben verschärften Inszenierungen, die uns in ihren Bann ziehen. In den Gemälden ihres Werkkomplexes Virtual Infinity (seit 2017) greift Anne Wölk den Impetus des Virtuellen auf und bedient sich dabei bestimmter malerischer Techniken sowie narrativer Bildelemente, die ein Staunen angesichts phantasmatischer Szenerien erzeugen. Die Künstlerin lässt Extreme aufeinandertreffen: Eindrucksvoll ausgeleuchtete, Aufmerksamkeit erregende Vordergründe – die schartigen Felslandschaften schneebedeckter Bergketten, Ansichten der Erdoberfläche – werden in Gleichzeitigkeit mit dem hypnotisierenden Tiefblau eines Alls präsentiert, aus dem einzelne Sterne ebenso wie ganze Weltraumnebel hervorfunkeln. Die im Titel der Serie benannte virtuelle Unendlichkeit findet ihre Entsprechung hier in der Wirklichkeit des Firmaments – die Künstlerin nutzt für ihre Bilder unter anderem durch das Hubble-Teleskop übermittelte Aufnahmen, die visuell abstrahiert Zugang zu Orten bieten, die körperlich nicht erreicht werden können. Es geht Wölk nicht darum, einen perfekten Illusionismus zu kreieren, sondern ihre Bilder mit einer bestimmten Atmosphäre auszustatten, die auf die Strahlkraft digitaler Realitäten rekurriert. Die Künstlerin ist fasziniert von Science-Fiction-Literatur und ihrer Fähigkeit, unsere Gegenwart in vielen ihrer Facetten vorausgesagt zu haben. In seiner wegweisenden Neuromancer-Trilogie (1984–1988) prägte William Gibson den Begriff des Cyberspace, eines immersiven virtuellen Paralleluniversums, wie es heute in Form des Internet existiert. Die Idee dazu kam ihm, als er zwei in einem Videospiel vertiefte Kinder beobachtete und den Eindruck gewann, dass diese das Spiel nicht nur steuern, sondern Teil von ihm werden wollten. Vor dem Hintergrund der beginnenden Allgegenwart von Personal Computern ahnte Gibson, dass alle irgendwann ihr Leben auch im digitalen Raum führen wollen würden: „Everyone is going to have one of these […] and everyone is going to want to live inside them.”2 In Arbeiten wie Multiverse (2018) oder Virtual Light (2017) kreiert Anne Wölk in lichten Neonfarbverläufen gehaltene Plateaus, die an die Bildhintergründe von Computerspielen erinnern – optisch ansprechend und zugleich Vakuum, laden sie dazu ein, sich den übersichtlich auf ihnen angeordneten Elementen zu widmen. Diese wiederum entstammen bei Wölk einer irdischen und ursprünglichen Lebenswelt: Neben schlanken Birken- und Kiefernstämmen finden sich einfache Unterstände, die wie Überbleibsel einer einst in den „Kosmos“ strebenden Zivilisation wirken. Während der Geist hier zunächst anhand einer vom Game-Design inspirierten Ästhetik – den pastelligen Regenbogenfarbverläufen, dem verheißungsvoll im Hintergrund leuchtenden Sternenhimmel und den wie Traumsymbolen im Bildraum schwebenden Objekten – in die Ferne schweift, verleihen die Leere und die Vereinzelung, die das Bild kennzeichnen, sowie sein erzählerischer Gehalt ihm schließlich einen dystopischen Unterton. Immer wieder stellt Anne Wölk dem majestätischen und kontemplativen Charakter ihrer Werke Irritationsmomente an die Seite und verweist die Betrachterinnen so auf die Sehnsucht nach dem schönen Schein selbst. Die Berg- und Naturlandschaft
in der Arbeit Astral (2019) ist durchschnitten von einem Raster, wie es in Virtual-Reality-Räumen sichtbar wird, wenn man sich an die Grenzen der digitalen Simulation bewegt.
Bekannt ist es unter anderem aus der Science-Fiction-Serie Star Trek, in der es das „Holodeck“ ziert, mit dessen Hilfe beliebige virtuelle Welten betreten werden können. Hier wird auf besondere Art und Weise die Ambivalenz zwischen der Weite des Universums und der Begrenztheit des Zugriffes darauf deutlich – selbst auf einem Raumschiff wie der USS Enterprise,
das unbekannte Bereiche des Weltraums erkunden soll, bleibt manches nur virtuell erreichbar. Die Universen, die Anne Wölk in ihren Bildern beschwört, erinnern so gleichermaßen an Weltflucht, Entdeckerdrang und
Technikdominanz – nicht nur auf der Ebene des Interstellaren. So finden sich in den eindrucksvollen Gebirgslandschaften in Milky Way (2018), Alpenglow I & II (2019), Scope and Vision (2019) oder Day Break (2019)
Flutlichter und farbige Leuchtstoffröhren, die die Idylle stören und zugleich kunstvoll illuminieren. Als Fremdkörper verweisen sie auf eine Realität, in der alles vom Menschen erobert ist und nach seinem Gusto gestaltet wird – der von ihm geliebte Glow-Effekt wird überall hingetragen. Er dient vor
allem dazu, ein Zeichen zu setzen, Bedeutsamkeit zu markieren und Aufmerksamkeit zu beschwören.
Anne Wölk demonstriert insbesondere die Attraktivität, die farbigem Licht zukommt und die das Einmalige noch besonderer erscheinen lässt – oder dem, was längst für viele verfügbar oder altbekannt ist, doch noch einen Hauch von Einzigartigkeit verleihen soll. Dieses Effekts bedienen sich nicht zuletzt unsere virtuellen Ichs oder Avatare, jene ebenfalls erstmals durch Science-Fiction beschriebenen künstlichen Persönlichkeiten, die online eine bestimmte Version eines Selbst repräsentieren. Sie teilen unter anderem mit, was ihnen erstrebenswert erscheint und sorgen für die ständige
Verfügbarkeit fesselnder, bestens in Szene gesetzter Bilder, die ihre Spuren hinterlassen und an die Möglichkeit des eigenen Abtauchens in andere Welten erinnern. Wölks Werke spielen auf das hier wachgehaltene Bedürfnis nach authentischen Erfahrungen ebenso an wie auf das perpetuierte Verlangen, sich angesichts von etwas Größerem zu verlieren oder zu profilieren – egal ob auf dem Berg oder im Internet.
Anne Wölk Explores Space Travel and Science Fiction
Link to Article: https://www.artqol.com/post/anne-w%C3%B6lk-explores-space-travel-and-science-fiction
Anne Wölk is fascinated by science fiction stories about space travel and cyberspace. Involved in the society of digital culture, the artist alters film stills, as well as photographs from the Hubble Space Telescope, and integrates them into her motifs and personal painting cosmos.
In 2004, Anne Wölk came to Berlin to study at the University of Fine Arts Berlin-Weissensee. As a student of Katharina Grosse, she enjoyed the purest idea of the painting process – the synchronicity of acting and thinking. Through her studies she naturally came into contact with multicultural artistic concepts.
After graduating, Wölk decided to stay in Berlin to get involved in an international art community. “Early on, I felt drawn to the German capital for its reputation as a location for contemporary art, and I liked its gallery centers in Berlin-Mitte and Kreuzberg. Over the years, Berlin became more and more one of the world’s most sought-after art places. The cheap rents for flats and studios pushed the development of the city, as well. The thing I like most about Berlin is its unique Eastern European flair. The urban lifestyle has significantly influenced my artistic development and language.”
Since living in Berlin-Mitte, Wölk attended an infinite number of exhibitions in private and public institutions, as well as in museums and art associations. The artworks she experienced there came from all over the world. “The opportunity to live in the center of the international art world has widened my horizon and influenced my way of thinking. Mainly, I love the diversity of the Berlin art scene, and I regularly do studio visits with friends, colleagues, and curators.”
Wölk’s work is influenced by German and Russia elements. “My Grandfather came from East Prussian Königsberg, modern-day Kaliningrad. After World War II, he was banned from his Home City for his entire lifetime. He spoke Russian fluently and told endless stories about Kaliningrad and the great displacement. I remember him as an ambitious draftsman. In early childhood, he affected me with his drawings and portraits, which were full of Baltic Romanticism and melancholy. During my childhood, I often came into contact with paintings by East European and Russian landscape painters. His Refugee Traumata still influences the cosmos of my paintings.
Although I belong to a different time and generation, the Baltic melancholy has inscribed itself into my artworks, like a different melody.
Through my cultural roots, I experience myself as a part of two different worlds, having both Eastern and Western cultural influences.
Russian elements and approaches were also included in my compositions when dealing with the futuristic designs of the Bauhaus-related VKhUTEMAS movement. In general, I adore the union of artistic and technical vision of the Russian Avant-Garde. In 2015, a comprehensive and extensive exhibition was held at the Martin Gropius Bau in Berlin. Next to the historical background information of Russian Avant-Garde Futurism, I saw many detailed architectural drawings of future city ideas and space colonies.
Next to historical art influences, many international futuristic and utopian novels have strongly influenced my painting motifs and artistic research.
As a teenager, I have read science fiction novels, such as Return from the Stars by Stanisław Lem and Roadside Picnic by the brothers Arkady and Boris Strugatsky . Since then, I have read tons of science fiction novels with completely different cultural backgrounds. For that reason, I have a vast collection of books, which I have built upon the two first novels I have mentioned previously.”
“It fascinates me to think about past generations of painters, architects, and writers in the former zone of Soviet influence and their limitations concerning traveling”
Wölk’s work is touching on the concepts of travel, including space travel, something that has deep roots in the cultural divide that existed before the fall of the Berlin wall.
“It fascinates me to think about past generations of painters, architects, and writers in the former zone of Soviet influence and their limitations concerning traveling.
The planetarium in my hometown of Jena was one of the rare places where dreaming about traveling (to the stars) was allowed and not restricted. The simulations of stellar skies and demonstrations of planetary runs at 360-degree shows were the town’s main attractions and an integral part of kindergarten and school trips.
Since the fall of the Berlin Wall, there have been tons of novels, TV series, and movies that thematize the traumata, especially due to the travel restrictions, of the former GDR population. As products of pop culture, these themes are the substrate of different approaches and perceptions of the events.
Some integrate pop comedy elements like the movie Goodbye, Lenin (2003) by Wolfgang Becker, or focus on aspects of collective traumata like the drama The Lives of Others (2006) by Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck. It is a cultural substrate between Ostalgie and Stasi surveillance caused by GDR arbitrariness.
I very often think of my mother, who is full of anger to this day when she talks about her experience visiting family members in West Germany. The government did not allow her to take me with her to make sure she had a reason to return to the GDR. Her own country treated her like a criminal and gave her a constant feeling of vulnerability. That is why my mother taught me early on what it means to be free to travel wherever you want and what opportunities this freedom opens up. She always supported my efforts to pursue an international career.
In addition, I would like to say that particularly Berlin has an immense history of painting, like Neue Sachlichkeit in early 1920. Nevertheless, modern-day influential contemporary art galleries and museum institutions show concept art and support sculptures and installations predominantly. I love figurative painting, and I never doubted its endless possibilities for future artist generations. Sometimes, it seems hard to find serious exhibition venues to show my work in Berlin. That is the main reason why I started to travel with my paintings to other countries and cultures to find like-minded artists and collectors for my narrative context.
For example, in the winter of 2006, I took my first steps in the art world when a Berlin-based gallery showed two of my artworks at the Contemporary Istanbul Art Fair. On this occasion, the collector Can Elgiz bought one of my large scale paintings for the Elgiz Museum of Contemporary Art in Istanbul. It was one of these rare lucky moments during an artist’s career. It happened when I was a completely unknown 24-year-old student from a little-recognized East German art college with no degree at the time. The purchased painting was shown in several thematic group exhibitions next to famous artists Cindy Sherman, Tracey Emin, and Sarah Morris. Later on, a museum assistant told me that the museum staff and curator simply liked the figuration and paint handling of the artwork. That was the main reason they had included it in various art shows.”
These days Wölk is busy preparing for her upcoming solo exhibition at the CICA Art Museum in South Korea which will open on December 2, 2020. Additionally, Pantocrator Gallery in Berlin, Germany, will present some of her recent paintings at Swab Art Fair in Barcelona, Spain, in early October 2020. She has ongoing projects including online exhibitions, such as the Engravist Printmaking Bienal in Istanbul, Turkey, and Booth 07, which is curated by Alfa Gallery in Miami, in Florida, US.
/Anne Wölk/ August 11/ 2020
Anne Wölk is a visual artist based in Berlin, who paint a fantastical interpretation of nature, where Romanticism and utopia are perceptible at the same time.
“The trick is to become successful in doing what you love.“
Hello, Anne. Can you introduce yourself and what you do?
My name is Anne Wölk, and I am a visual artist based in Berlin. I paint a fantastical interpretation of nature, in which Romanticism and utopia are perceptible at the same time. Most of my works refer to science fiction movies and novels.
My subject matter is driven by my fascination for outer space exploration and the search for life on other planets.
Next to science fiction, I am also conceptually inspired by scientific investigations about new colonies on possible life-friendly planets. In this context, some of my works are intended to address the power structure of who will have access to a potential Planet B.
The utopia of the imagined alternative living ground brings up the question: What will our habitat look like on other planets?
When you see my paintings for the first time in an exhibition, you can see that the motives are multilayered narrations that are comparable to cinematic sceneries. Involved in the society of digital culture, I am altering film stills and photographs of the Hubble Space Telescope into my motifs. Caused by its reference, my later artworks inevitably appear futuristic.
If you take a closer look at my paintings, you will discover detailed mountain landscapes with horizons of mesmerizing deep blue color, which might look like extraterrestrial terrain. Dreamlike artificial light floats in the picture space, leading into the emptiness of a virtual vacuum. It is an attempt to redefine the genre of landscape painting through the conceptional use of bright screen colors. During the painting process, I always try to reinvent myself as an artist and to break new ground.
We have read that you were affected by your grandfather’s drawings in early childhood, and you grew up obsessively drawing in little black books. Do you think that your creativity comes from your genes?
The origin and reason for becoming an artist represent, for me, an ongoing mysterious connection with the blurred past. Honestly, I think that creativity is more often stimulated by positive role models than determined solely by genes.
My grandfather came from Kaliningrad and could draw very well from his memory. After World War II, he was banned from his home city for the remainder of his life. As an ambitious draftsman, his portraits were full of baltic Romanticism and melancholy. He spoke with deep regret about the German guilt and the great displacement concerning Königsberg and its transformation into Kaliningrad.
Königsberg became a kind of a myth after 1945 and a so-called German Atlantis in the sense of a fabled, unreachable city. My grandfather’s life was, like the lives of most of his peers, characterised by violence. Born premature and out of wedlock, he was forced to fight his way up to survive. As a young adult, he became the welterweight champion of East Prussia and was later given the title of an army officer. He eventually ended up as a ‘responsible’ police officer in the GDR.
I personally think that drawing was, for him, a type of therapy to calm down and to respond to his physical and psychological transitions caused by his traumas.
When I visited him, we sketched and painted together in a room in his apartment. He looked at everything and commented critically; he occasionally corrected elements of my early humble attempts. He preferred to draw male heads, and I tried to imitate him. I can especially remember situations in which he found my way of drawing noses unacceptable and asked me to take a closer look.
I think that looking at the details and at the underneath levels of things is an essential piece of advice for any artist. Until today, I keep a sketchbook with me, and I use it as a kind of diary and as an item to save and collect ideas for later paintings.
Sure, I believe everyone should follow what makes them happy. Did you always know what career you would like to have? How and when did you realize that you wanted nothing else but to become a painter & what was your creative path from the very beginning?
At the beginning of my development, I dealt a lot with Russian and Baltic landscape painting. I’ve always enjoyed drawing birch trees and have loved them for their cool and beautiful elegance. Next to that, I was eager to learn to do portraits, and I trained to draw as precisely as possible from memory. In terms of artistic background, I enjoyed drawing and painting since I was very young, and my family was supportive of my interest.
At the age of 14, I met my first real painter, who was a local artist with a degree from the Academy of Fine Arts Dresden. He was the founder of a small private art school, which was connected to a large work studio. It was not a classic school but rather a starting point for aspiring artist personalities. Very often, primitive feedback sessions developed into troubled talks about God in the world until late at night.
During this time, I painted my first large scale artwork, which was later exhibited in a small gallery space at the ‘Haus of the Mauer’ in Jena.
After a certain period, I had tons of drawings and paintings that included portraits of friends and family members, as well as forest landscapes.
By the way, at that time, I had already done some early starscapes, but I did not dare to put ‘space pictures’ in my portfolio.
My teacher always told me that the representation of saddles in the universe are tourist topics and are made by unemployed Russian propaganda painters.
With a ‘mindful’ selection of my early artworks, I passed the entrance exam in the painting department at the Art College Burg Giebichstein Halle one and a half years before I made my A-level exam in high school. I think it was the result of an early career decision.
At the age of 15, I already knew that I wanted nothing else but to become a painter, and I could not see any other future possibilities for me.
During this time, I was also an active member of the Writers Corner of the Kassablanca Youth Club. We exchanged information about current trends in the German graffiti scene and spent a lot of time drawing styles and characters with Copic Markers inside our black books, another name for sketchbooks.
How the teenage girl from the countryside decided to choose education at the University of Fine Arts Berlin-Weissensee?
When I applied to the University of Art and Design in Halle, I was particularly impressed by the romantic Ruine Castle on the main campus. I found the courtyard particularly beautiful, with its pavilion overgrown with roses. It was a shelter in the form of refuge for yearning souls that had little to do with the real world outside.
Young and naive, I had no idea what the Zeitgeist of Contemporary Art was and which teaching concept was actually happening in the painting class of the ‘castle.’
I started my education in the class of Ute Pleuger, a Berlin-based conceptual painter with a focus on architecture. As a teacher, she embodied a cool, analytical, and intellectual mind. The German conceptual painter Beate Spalthoff was also teaching at that time in Halle, and she infected me with her enthusiasm for the painter Luc Tuymans. I studied his work for many years and wrote about one of his series in my written diploma thesis.
Even today, I still enjoy looking at his paintings in exhibitions whenever I get the opportunity.
His unique approach of translating photography into a painted language fascinates me. Tuymans never paints on a picture for more than a day, and he puts all compositional elements in one layer of color, similar to the method of prima painting.
Unlike him, I prefer a long process of adding thin color glazes layer by layer. It takes a long time and often lasts for several weeks or even months.
Three years living in Halle and following the path of formalism and conceptual art were enough for me, and I decided to complete my education at the Academy of Art and Design in the capital of Germany. As a student of Katharina Grosse in Berlin, I have enjoyed being part of a group of international students from a variety of different artistic approaches and concepts. I have learned that color knows no boundaries and can connect different spaces inside and outside of exhibition space. I naturally encountered the concept that a painting can land on any two- or three-dimensional object.
Suddenly, I was surrounded by international art deputies, and everything felt like the big wide world. During this time, we, as her students, took a two-week-long class trip with her to Japan and visited temples (like Ise Grand Shrine), museums, galleries, architects and artists, Kyoto, Tokyo, and the rural northern regions of Japan.
That sounds so inspiring! Am I right that you had the Erasmus exchange program at Chelsea College of Fine Art and Design (in London)? How would you compare these 2 experiences?
The Chelsea College of Art and Design was the partner school of the Kunsthochschule Berlin Weißensee, and I was able to do an exchange semester there without any problems. The art scene in London is much more international than in Germany, and the competition between graduates of the many art colleges is correspondingly tougher. Without a financial background, it is almost impossible to get a foothold in London.
I studied at the sculptor class at Chelsea and met many international artists. Gerald Wilson invited me to study in his class; I learned many new aspects of negative forms and the impact of objects and their volume in space.
At that time, the British artist Rachel Whiteread had a comprehensive solo exhibition in London that we have visited with Gerald’s class. Whiteread’s installations deal with the investigation of cavities. For example, the artist reproduces the space under a table. In that way, Rachel Whiteread shows the displacement of the table legs in space as a negative footprint. Her sculptural work shows the difficulty that we have, when we think of space only as a thing, and not so much as airspace.
I felt welcome everywhere in London and had several exhibitions there. As a student, I was enormously supported and brought together with professionals from the art world. I suspect it has to do with the fact that most international students at Chelsea College have to pay a lot of money to get their education. For the teaching artists, it feels natural to feel the obligation to connect the students with a high-quality and sensible network of galleries and museums.
Speaking of them, when did you have your very first exhibition?
I had my first exhibition while studying painting at the Burg Giebichstein Halle. I won first place for painting at the 9th national state exhibition of Thuringia, Erfurt. The opening was the first month of my freshman year and was held at the University of Erfurt.
And how old were you when your paintings were sold for the very first time? Did this sale boost your future career?
A professor from the university in Erfurt bought the artwork with which I had previously won the 9th national state exhibition of Thuringia, in 2001.
My painting Dog girl (2006) represented kind of a breakthrough for me. It was the first artwork of mine that was purchased by a museum, so it was then that I took my first steps into the international art world. A Berlin-based gallery showed two of my artworks at the Contemporary Istanbul Art Fair. On this occasion, the collector Can Elgiz bought one of my large-scale paintings for the Elgiz Museum of Contemporary Art in Istanbul. It was one of those rare lucky moments during an artist’s career. It happened when I was a completely unknown 24-year-old student from a little-recognized East German art college with no degree at the time. The purchased painting was shown in several thematic group exhibitions next to artwork by famous artists Cindy Sherman, Tracey Emin, and Sarah Morris.
That’s a great success! What percentage of education, skills, hard work, contacts, and luck would you put into a formula for a successful career in your field?
The truth is that very few gallery owners are interested in your education or want to see your art college degree. They look for ‘fresh’ works and mostly only exhibit artists who have been recommended to them.
I personally trust my skill set and education, and do not want to miss it. Conceptual thinking and a commitment to painting craftsmanship are the main strengths of my artistic approach.
It is not easy to make it as an artist. It’s hard work and comparable to a marathon. The first step for me was to follow my passion and to master my painting skill set versus craftsmanship. You need to grow a network of friends and supporters within your art community. The trick is to become successful in doing what you love. I personally believe in hard work, but luck is also mandatory. You need to be ready and to have a consistent body of work when the opportunity comes along. The most important aspect for me is the advice to never stop studying and researching.
Today, I have learned a lot from the monochromatic night sky drawings of the American artist Vija Celmins. I find her quiet and precise work to be incredibly inspiring, deep, and complex. By studying her work, I realised that what we don’t understand, it forces us to take a closer look. Although I have studied with professors from the Western hemisphere, I still feel attracted to re-skilling, patience, and discipline. I see these strongly reflected in Celmin’s artistic approach.
Besides, I really admire the astronomical globes of Russel Crotty. He is an artist that is not known so much in Germany, but is quite popular for his drawings in his home country, the USA.
Being a full-time artist could be tough. What are the best lessons you had learned in your career, and what are your top three best resources that helped you grow in your career (websites, people, programs, etc.)?
From the beginning, I have received scholarships and small awards, such as the Studienstiftung des Deutschen Volkes scholarship. Winning a scholarship was a stepping stone into the indispensable support system for artists. The money allowed me to travel and educate myself. This situation forced me to go out of my comfort zone and exposed me to different cultures, which helped me realise how diverse our world truly is.
My work was selected and shortlisted for several international competitions and scholarships.
The awards I received include the Alpine Fellowship grant at Aldourie Castle, Scotland, UK; a residency at Bodensee Art Fund; and an artist-in-residence grant in Goriska Brda, Slovenia, awarded by the German Embassy in Ljubljana. I have exhibited my works at international institutions, including the Elgiz Museum of Contemporary Art, Istanbul, Turkey; the CICA Art Museum, South Korea; the Zeiss-Planetarium Berlin, Germany; the Accra Goethe-Institut Ghana, Ghana; and the Kyrgyz National Museum of Fine Arts, Bishkek, Kyrgyz Republik.
My paintings have been exhibited alongside the works of artists such as Robert Rauschenberg, Johannes Wohnseifer, Azade Köker, and Stephan Balkenhol. In 2011, I was selected for the Edition S 36 of DSV Kunst Kontor in Stuttgart. The Edition S 36 was a compilation of contemporary artworks, and it featured paintings of Jonathan Meese and Tim Eitel.
I have exhibited and sold on the international art markets, including the Swab Art Fair Barcelona, Spain; Viennafair, Vienna, Austria; KIAF Seoul, South Korea; and Contemporary Istanbul, Istanbul, Turkey.
For a decade, I have been presenting my works in private gallery shows, including Galería Luis Adelantado, Valencia, Spain; Arebyte Gallery, London, UK; Galerie Wolfsen, Aalborg, Denmark; Pantocrator Gallery, Shanghai, China; Alfa Gallery, Miami, USA; and The Residence Gallery, London, UK.
In October 2013, I won the Category Award for the ArtPrize competition ‘Art Takes Paris’, presided by directors from The Andy Warhol Museum in New York, the Lisson Gallery, and the Marianne Boesky Gallery. In 2017, I was announced as the Showcase Juried Winner in the painting category of the 9th Artslant Prize. My painting Virtual Light was selected by a jury consisting of Natalia Zuluaga (artistic director of ArtCenter/South Florida), Nathaniel Hitchcock (co-organiser of the Bass Museum of Art), and Malose Malahela (co-founder of Keleketa! Library). Two years later, I have participated in the finalists’ exhibition of the art competition Art Revolution in Taipei, Taiwan.
Here are some pieces of advice that I found helpful: 1) Do not give up, and do not stop applying to support programs. Rejections are temporary; 2) You have to stick to clearly separated budgets, and you have to invest time, money, and effort into your career; 3) You need to have a website and a newsletter; 4) Keep your artist friends close to you. Support them whenever you can. They will do the same for you.
Super! We’ll write down these advices. For how many years have you been painting now, Anne? Have you found your personal painting language yet?
I’ve been painting and drawing since childhood. At the age of 15, I decided to pursue a professional career as an artist.
My recent body of work is the culmination of a long year of searching for my painting language. For many years, I have tried to confront my visual worlds with geometric forms and to interrupt the visual space.
Since 2017, I mainly deal with the representation of cosmic space and unimaginable distances like light-years. Stars that appear in my pictures as tiny little details represent, in reality, vast worlds in distant areas of space.
Can you tell us about your creative process?
I start a painting with a sketch. I carry out this preliminary drawing with black or white charcoal. When I work in a large format, I sometimes draw a grid to be able to transfer a cluster of stars more precisely. I always work on about three to five works of art at the same time.
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 use of LED in colourful neon lights in our inner cities. Neon tubes are a symbol of the superior technology of a digital world.
For me, your artworks are vivid collages of geometric shapes and real objects, something between stars, science fiction, and abstract. When it comes to your paintings, what subjects/names/themes feed your inspiration?
My working method is characterized by the employment of collage techniques and the layering of landscapes with juxtaposed objects and playing with light. In this sense, I try to bring forward a fantastical interpretation of the current and future possibilities of civilized environments grounded in scientific discoveries.
The motifs are inspired by telescopic observations, and they illustrate a world of extraterritorial views.
Futuristic dystopias are very popular in our modern-day society. 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 is characterized by the contrast of natural light phenomena, such as the glow of the Milky Way, with the bizarre visual effect of colorful LED tubes. My paintings are intended to help people reexperience the overwhelming beauty and uniqueness of the stars in our night sky, which we have lost through excessive light pollution.
Artificial light, placed by the urban population, can be found nearly everywhere in the nocturnal landscape of the Western hemisphere. A situation where one light shines over another makes us feel uncomfortable. The omnipresent glow of the LED tubes makes us aware of how sensitive we are to artificial light and how light can change our body and brain in unexpected ways.
I assume growing up in Jena influenced you a lot, as it is known for the Optical Museum and its displays of vintage Zeiss microscopes and spectacles?
The love of astronomy and space travel occurred very early in my life. I saw many stellar sky presentations at the planetarium in my hometown.
Most of the shows were demonstrations of revolutionary satellite techniques that were used to examine our solar system. The details in my pictorial representations of nebulae were only made possible by the advances of satellite technology, like NASA’s Hubble and Spitzer Space Telescope.
My favorite attraction was the remarkable rings of Saturn as an amazing natural phenomenon. The rings consist of countless small particles that range in size from micrometers to meters and that orbit Saturn.
In the old city center of Jena, inside a passage called Goethe Gallery, visitors can see the Cosmorama – the oldest ever created star projector – which was part of the inventory of the first planetarium.
Voyages to strange new worlds in the planetarium are not like visits to a regular cinema. They are unique experiences that cannot be compared to anything else. As a spectator, you sit under a vast dome. You are surrounded by stars and planets in a 360-degree projection. The visual beauty of the universe overwhelms you as a visitor and changes your perspective as a human being.
Optics is a very present science in Jena thanks to Carl Zeiss and Otto Schott. A highlight of the optical museum is an exhibit called ‘The mirror box’. This object is a box made entirely of mirrors with a peephole, which offers an impressive view of the infinity.
The exhibits that show the forerunners of the cinema are also interesting – for example, the camera obscura, dioramas, or stereoscopes.
An exhibition space in the museum is dedicated to astronomy and to the history of the planetariums. In a dark room, a planetary model begins to spin, and a solar eclipse takes place.
Photographs of regions far away in the outer space stimulate my imagination, which vibrates in my painting motifs and has shaped me as an artist.
In that sense, I try to share my early childhood dream of traveling into space with my audience.
Maybe, for that reason, my fantastic multilayered narrations appear to be like cinematic sceneries. Some of them even directly refer to science fiction movies and novels. I like utopian stories, and I enjoy immersing myself in futuristic narratives. Dreaming with the poetic I is comparable to an experience of rising and dissolving in a painterly process of visual storytelling. Often, the poetic I blends one’s consciousness, which brings back the things of the past with another and able to shoot towards the future. It is similar to the experiences of simultaneous superimposition of different reality levels layered on top of each other inside a painting composition.
How much do you think does location affect work and career for artists in general & how did you choose yours?
After graduating, I have decided to stay in Berlin to get involved in an international art community. Early on, I felt drawn to the German capital for its reputation as being a location for contemporary art, and I liked its gallery centres in Berlin-Mitte and Kreuzberg. Over the years, Berlin became more and more one of the world’s most sought-after art places. The cheap rents for flats and studios pushed the development of the city as well. The thing I like most about Berlin is its unique Eastern European flair. The urban lifestyle has significantly influenced my artistic development and language.
Outside of art and astronomy, what other interests do you have?
I love reading, and I have a vast collection of books, which I have built upon in my first science fiction stories. For example, I own novels from authors such as Ursula K. Le Guin, Stanislaw Lem, Haruki Murakami, William Gibson, Philip Kindred Dick, and Cixin Liu. Many international futuristic books have influenced my painting motifs and artistic research strongly.
I love especially the groundbreaking novel The Left Hand of Darkness, written by the well-known author Ursula K. Le Guin and published in 1969. With this book, gender theory enters the male-dominated science fiction literature. During this time, feminist science fiction was born as a subgenre and focused on issues such as gender inequality, sexuality, race, economy, and reproduction.
Le Guin’s book became famous for his intellectual study of androgyny. The writer created a strange world without sexual prejudices, a world in which residents can change their gender at any time.
The act limited the exposure of female stereotypes and helped improve the representation of women by taking into account aspects of psychology and human emotions.
May I ask, of your entire collection, which painting is your personal favorite?
I don’t have a favorite piece. Every painting was important in its own way and has helped me to understand a problem that led me to the next step of my artistic development.
Is there something you really dream of doing then?
An important artwork for me was my first three-dimensional painting on a styrofoam sphere in 2019. It is titled Second Earth and was first shown last year at my solo show Astral, which was held at Tête gallery space in Berlin. The work is a 40 cm styrofoam sphere that is coated in a galaxy of acrylic paints. The cool blue palette presents a mountain-scape that is paired with a deep night sky above.
Reminiscent of a snow globe, Second Earth offers an icy view of a melancholic landscape and refers to the theme of ‘life beyond earth,’ showing a territory many light years away. It is conceptually inspired by scientific investigations of new colonies on planets that support life and addresses the power structure of whom will have access to a new potential planet. The sphere was just the beginning of a new series, consisting of seven spheres and referring to a planetary system.
I am also planning the creation of a dome with canvas works included, but right now, this seems to be more of a five-year project.
Looking forward to seeing these artworks.
I would like to take the chance to inform your readers about my upcoming projects.
Here is some news that I am really excited about:
Raúl Alvaro from Pantocrator Gallery invited me to present some of my recent paintings at the Swab Art Fair 2020 in October. Swab Art Fair will be held online because of the coronavirus pandemic. The virtual tour can be found on their homepage (https://swab.es) from October 1 to October 15.
On November 13, my painting Virtual Light (2017) will be part of the Rotary Charity Auction in Munich. I am happy when the artwork finds its new home at an art collector’s house and, of course, when my art raises money to help other people.
In December, I am looking forward to my first solo exhibition at the Czong Institute for Contemporary Art (CICA Art Museum) in South Korea. The artworks of the show will be documented in the CICA Art Now 2020 publication, which will be released in January 2021.
There are many galleries and nonprofit art centers that try to help artists by organizing online events.
Currently, I take part in several online exhibitions, such as Booth 07 at the Alfa Gallery (Miami, Florida, USA) and the Engravist Printmaking Bienal (Istanbul, Turkey). I am touched by the ongoing support for my galleries and the online engagement from my audience.
/neim/ readers can learn more about upcoming projects and new works on my Instagram account and on my homepage.
Sure, we’ll leave your details below, Anne, so our readers could follow your creative story. Vielen dank Anne, for sharing it. It was a pleasure to get to know what kind of person is behind these surreal paintings.
9 July, 2020
How has the COVID-19 affected the way you currently work? Have you lost work and wages or been affected by event cancellations that you relied on for income?
In the first six months, I have financed my studio practice with art licensing and art sales from December 2019. In addition, I had some income by teaching several art classes in January, February, and March. Right now, the art business is very slow. I have lost some teaching wages and network opportunities. Also, exhibitions in commercial galleries have been cancelled. There are many galleries and nonprofit art centers that try to help artists by organising online events. I took part in several (online) exhibitions, like Booth 07 at the Alfa Gallery (Miami, Florida, USA); Engravist Printmaking Bienal (Istanbul, Turkey); Festival Art Spring at the Janusz Korczak Library (Berlin, Germany); and 20 x 20 Art on Paper at the Christine Xuereb Art Gallery (Sliema, Malta). I feel touched by the ongoing support and online engagement for my galleries and audience.
How have you changed your art practice and art business during the last few months to adapt to these challenges?
I have transferred some equipment from my studio to my flat to be able to continue creating artwork for potential future projects. Painting at home is a tricky business because of some of the toxic materials. It has also affected the size of the artwork. Sometimes, unfortunately, that could mean painting small and thinking small. At the beginning of August, I will move to my new studio, and I will start to prepare for my solo exhibition at the CICA Art Museum. That means that I will expand my practice to large paintings again and that I will try to finish some of my larger pieces, which I had not been able to take home in March.
How, if at all, have you been affected financially?
A group show, “20 x 20”, at the Christine Xuereb Gallery in Malta was postponed until the end of the year. Christine organised an online exhibition and generated a lot of PR, but the online presentation did not result in any sales for me. Furthermore, one of my one-week workshops was canceled, as was an art auction in Hamburg. The Swab Art Fair Barcelona, in which I am participating, will be an online event only. For me, this means that there will be no opportunity to talk with potential new clients, collectors, and art lovers
Have you seen any new opportunities arise due to COVID-19 or the current events of our world (for example, public art, commissions, prints, etc.)?
Raúl Alvaro from Pantocrator Gallery invited me to present some of my recent paintings at the Swab Art Fair in October. The Art Fair will be held online because of the coronavirus pandemic. In December, I will have a solo exhibition at the Czong Institute for Contemporary Art (CICA Art Museum) in South Korea. My painting “Virtual Light” from 2017 will be part of the Rotary Charity Auction in Munich. I am happy when my art helps people – and, of course, when I receive 50% of the money to support my art business and studio. You can learn more about upcoming projects and new works on instagram @studio_anne_woelk
And there will very soon be an extensive interview in Al-Tiba9 Magazine.
Have you used your art to help your community during this time at all? If so, please tell us about your projects.
During the lockdown, I made a free online painting tutorial video for my students. Before the summer break, I went outside with my class to an urban area to comply with the rules of social distancing. All of the children enjoyed the time we spent together. They appreciated reconnecting and exchanging personal experiences from the lockdown. As a result of the crisis, their motives for painting were full of desire, such as to visit the sea and a general longing to be allowed to travel.
6-7 June 2020
Online Studio visits with artists based in Berlin Pankow, Prenzlauer Berg & Weißensee
Studio Visit Anne Wölk:
Amalienpark 4 13187 Berlin,
2020 Interview Jugendkunstschule Pankow
(February 2020, available in German language only)
Diese Woche stellen wir euch Anne Wölk vor. Anne leitet bei uns den Malerei-Mappenkurs, sowie “Malen & Zeichnen” am Montag. Ob Sie schon einmal mit der Kunst aufhören wollte und warum Sie gerne mit Kindern arbeitet erfahrt Ihr hier:
1.) Welche Künstler*innen magst du am meisten?
Anne: Ich mag die Arbeiten von Vija Celmins, Julie Mehretu und David Hockney.
2.) Was darf während du arbeitest nie fehlen?
Anne: Es ist schön mit einer tollen Bildidee den Ateliertag zu beginnen. Farbe und Pinsel brauche ich selbstverständlich auch, um meine Fantasien in gemalte Bilder zu übertragen. Während der Arbeitszeit höre ich abwechselnd Radio und Science Fiction Hörbücher. Das hilft ein bisschen gegen das Gefühl von Einsamkeit im eigenen Studio, befördert mich aber auch in andere Galaxien und Welten. Außerdem darf auch eine guter Pausensnack nie fehlen. Das brauche ich um meine Konzentration beim Malen zu halten.
3.) Was ist das Schönste am gemeinsamen Arbeiten mit Kindern?
Anne: Schön ist es, wenn meine Kursteilnehmer zum Beispiel mit dem „Pouring“, dem Acrylfarbe gießen experimentieren und über die vielen Facetten der Mischtöne und Strukturen staunen. Dann ist die Begeisterung der Kinder so ansteckend, dass ich mich an der Freude über das gelungene Experiment auf wunderbare Weise mitfreuen kann.
Zusätzlich mag ich auch die lustigen Gespräche, die wir während der gemeinsamen Arbeitszeit haben. Mich interessieren immer die Erfahrungen der Kinder, die sie „draußen“ in der Welt machen oder über welche Verhaltensweisen der Erwachsenen sie sich besonders verwundert haben. Das öffnet stets den Blick in eine andere Realität. Die kleinen Episoden ihrer kuriosen Geschichten werden häufig zum Teil ihrer gemalten Bildwelten und somit in den künstlerischen Prozess transformiert. Damit ist die Arbeit mit Kindern nie langweilig.
4.) Wolltest du schon einmal mit der Kunst aufhören?
Anne: Es gibt immer wieder „Ups and Downs“ in der künstlerischen Karriere. Aber was mir bisher am meisten geholfen hat ist: Weiter Malen und nicht aufgeben!
5.) Was inspiriert dich in deiner Umwelt am meisten?
Anne: Am meisten inspiriert mich der Blick ins Firmament und die Unendlichkeit des Sternenhimmels. Ich empfinde ein tiefes Gefühl der Erhabenheit, wenn ich die Schönheit der Leuchtkraft der Milchstraße in mir aufnehme. Ich liebe auch klassische Musik, insbesondere die späten Klaviersonaten von Beethoven und Schubert.
Schaut doch gerne mal bei der lieben Anne vorbei:
100 Artists, 100 Perspectives
Year: 2016, 616 pages
Editor: Anita Brockmann, Dr. Sabine Burbaum-Machert
Publisher: Boesner GmbH holding + innovations
more info: http://www.boesner.com
address: boesner GmbH holding + innovations Gewerkenstr. 2 58456 Witten, Germany, Europe
Feature about Anne Wölk at page 586 & 587
Text by Oliver Zybok, Director of Overbeck-Gesellschaft Lübeck
Anne Wölk – Ephemeral Moments
Today, the contemporary picture is an intermediate stop between various sign processes in which it lets itself be conveyed and from the conveyance of which it comes: a relay between states of signs and designation procedures. It exists as an ephemeral moment between processes of transformation: as something that is not only conveyed, but which comes from the conveyance and is that which is conveyed. The picture has become the cache and the clipboard; it brings forth as enduring that which otherwise often disappears in production. Anne Wölk’s pictorial explorations illustrate that, in this context, painting can therefore no longer only concern itself self-referentially with its own medium and its own history. Instead, it looks out from its interim storage to other media and sign production procedures, which it seizes and thus brings their original mediality into question.
Anne Wölk’s paintings can be divided into various picture levels with different narrative structures, for which she adopted signs and procedures from street art and photorealism, and decorative elements from the world of fashion, among others. At the same time, pictorial styles are juxtaposed so that they shift the works between realism and abstraction, between reality and fiction. In Fusion (2010/11), for example, circular line layouts are combined with a diagonal and horizontal lineament and their geometry is reminiscent of the picture compositions of the constructivists. These variations are complemented by floral and ornamental shapes. A kind of frieze of shadowy figures can be seen on the horizon, next to throw-ups from the image repertoire of graffiti. Underneath this frieze, irregular, abstract colour gradients are arranged. Photo-realistic-looking birch trunks with their irregular yet ornamental-looking surface structures, occasionally decorated with tags, frame the events in the picture.
Anne Wölk’s painting is often made up of influences from moderns film myths. According to the artist herself, in this respect she is quoting “the ecstatic, fast-paced poetry of Albert Ostermaier. I am particularly engaged by his expressive metropolis poems from the Hardcore volume of poems. For me, it’s about a conception of the landscape as a fantastical narrative, in which the simultaneity of Romanticism and Utopia become perceptible. For other models, I turn to pictures and stories from Russian fairy tales, but also film stills and literature from the science fiction genre, such as Solaris by Stanisław Lem.” With her painting, Anne Wölk demonstrates that the cognitive images we as observers are constantly storing and accessing, and to which our perceptual experiences adapt, are constantly changing and influencing each other. Every day, the visual is conveyed as a cultural code through the mass media, depictions, and signs in the urban space.
Anne Wölk – Ephemere Momente
Das zeitgenössische Bild ist heute Zwischenstation diverser Zeichenprozesse, in die es sich jeweils übertragen lässt und aus deren Übertragung es kommt: ein Relais zwischen Zustandsweisen von Zeichen und Verfahren der Bezeichnung. Es existiert als ein ephemeres Moment zwischen Transformationsprozessen: als etwas, das nicht nur übertragen wird, sondern das aus der Übertragung kommt und Übertrag ist. Das Bild ist Zwischenspeicher und Zwischenablage geworden; es bringt als bleibend hervor, was sonst in der Herstellung oftmals verschwindet. Anne Wölks malerischen Auseinandersetzungen verdeutlichen in diesem Kontext, dass Malerei sich daher nicht mehr nur selbstbezüglich mit ihrem eigenen Medium und der eigenen Geschichte beschäftigen kann. Sie blickt stattdessen aus ihren Zwischenspeichern auf andere Medien und Verfahren der Herstellung von Zeichen, die sie aufgreift und damit deren ursprüngliche Medialität in Frage stellt.
Anne Wölks Gemälde gliedern sich in verschiedenen Bildebenen, mit unterschiedlichen Erzählstrukturen, für die sie sich unter anderem Zeichen und Verfahren aus der Street Art, dem Fotorealismus und dekorative Elemente aus der Modewelt aneignet. Gleichzeitig sind malerische Stile nebeneinander gesetzt, sodass sich die Arbeiten stets zwischen Realistik und Abstraktion bewegen, zwischen Wirklichkeit und Fiktion. In Fusion (2010/11) zum Beispiel werden kreisförmige Linienführungen mit diagonalem und horizontalem Lineament kombiniert und erinnern in ihrer Geometrie an Bildkompositionen der Konstruktivisten. Ergänzt werden diese Variationen durch florale und ornamenthafte Formen. Am Horizont sind in einer Art Fries schattenähnliche Figuren zu erkennen, daneben Throw-ups aus dem Bildrepertoire des Graffiti gesetzt. Unter diesem Fries sind unregelmäßige abstrakte Farbverläufe angelegt. Fotorealistisch anmutende Birkenstämme mit ihren unregelmäßigen, aber dennoch ornamenthaft wirkenden Oberflächenstrukturen, vereinzelt mit Tags verziert, rahmen das Bildgeschehen ein.
Anne Wölks Malerei setzt sich oft auch aus Einflüssen moderner Mythen des Films zusammen. Dabei zitiert sie, so die Künstlerin selbst, „die ekstatische, beschleunigte Poesie Albert Ostermaiers. Besonders beschäftigen mich seine expressiven Großstadtpoeme aus dem Gedichtband Hardcore. Es geht mir um eine Auffassung der Landschaft als eine phantastische Schilderung, in der die Simultanität von Romantik und Utopie spürbar wird. Als weitere Vorlagen verwende ich Bilder und Geschichten aus russischen Märchen, aber auch Filmstills und Literatur aus dem Science-Fiction-Genre, wie zum Beispiel aus Solaris von Stanisław Lem.“ Mit ihrer Malerei führt Anne Wölk vor, dass sich die kognitiven Bilder, die wir als Betrachter ständig speichern und abrufen, und denen sich unsere Wahrnehmungserfahrungen anpassen, sich stets verändern und beeinflussen. Durch die Massenmedien, Abbildungen und Zeichen im urbanen Raum wird das Visuelle täglich als kultureller Code vermittelt.
Dxi Magazine Spain
Published on 16 septiembre, 2015
2015 / LUIS ADELANTADO
Young talent show with emerging international artists, curated by Olga Adelantado
written by Daniel Pernudo
Para la décimo séptima edición de Call (Convocatoria internacional de jóvenes artistas), se han seleccionado 18 propuestas de las más de 500 presentadas. La selección de los artistas participantes ha estado a cargo de la directora de la galería Luis Adelantado (Valencia), Olga Adelantado. La exposición concluyo el pasado 10 de septiembre. El recorrido artístico de los participantes es muy diverso y plural, como sus medios con los que se expresan. Abarcan desde la fotografía, el dibujo, la pintura, la intervención, el collage, la instalación o el objeto escultórico.
more info: http://www.dximagazine.com/2015/09/16/call-2015-luis-adelantado/
ArtIculAction Art Review
International Art Magazine
Format: 29,7 x 21 cm
Text: Artist Interviews
Era Vati, Anne Wölk, Marie-Lou Desmeules, Alex Bodel, Cigdem Mentesoglu, e.belit sag, Ruta Butkute, Vasil Tenev, Henry Pouillon, Amelie Beaudroit, Kenneth Susynsky
Video Art Embassy Slovenia:
October 2014 Art Embassy
Artist-in-Residence grant in Goriska Brda,
winery Skurek, Slovenia
awarded by the German Embassy, Ljubljana
Xenia Fink, Anne Wölk, Carl-Heinz Draxl, Masa Gala, Klemen Brun,
Artist in residence program at MMM Art – Skurek, German Art Embassy, Goriska/Brda, Slovenia; organized by the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany in Slovenia with Xenia, Fink, Anne Wölk, Carl-Heinz Draxl, Masa Gala, Klemen Brun, Etko Tutta, http://www.scurek.com/
Link to homepage Scurek Wine Production Slovenia
Adrian Luncke M.A. :
Nehmen wir auf unsere Wirklichkeit Bezug, so wenden wir für gewöhnlich die Kategorien von Raum und Zeit auf sie an. Wir gliedern sie in ein Hier und Jetzt, ein Dort und Dann… und schaffen somit Systeme der Abfolge und der Trennung. Für die Beschreibung von Ereignissen oder Situationen greifen wir Momente aus diesen Systemen heraus: Sie geschehen zu einer bestimmten Zeit, an einem bestimmten Ort.
Anne Wölk setzt einer derart eingeschränkten Betrachtungsweise eine vielfältige entgegen. So schlägt sie vor, Momente der Wirklichkeit in Schichten zu fassen – Schichten, die aufeinandertreffen, die sich wie unterschiedliche Meinungen aneinander reiben und sich letztlich zu einem reichen Ergebnis zusammenfügen:
Ihren Umgang mit dem Thema Zeit verdeutlicht Anne Wölk, indem sie Science Fiction Material zurückliegender Jahrzehnte aufgreift. Ebenso wie die Vergangenheit die Gegenwart vorbereitet und auf diese Weise in ihr enthalten ist, verhält sich die Gegenwart zur Zukunft – an die Stelle der zeitlichen Reihung setzt Anne Wölk also Beobachtungen der Gleichzeitigkeit.
Ähnlich verhält es sich Wölk zufolge mit dem Raum:
Ein Hier ist ohne ein Dort unbestimmt und letztlich gar nicht zu denken – und trotzdem sind Hier und Dort nicht zwangsläufig auch örtlich voneinander getrennt. So versinnbildlicht die Stadtlandschaft eben die Zusammenkunft von Stadt und Land – zwei Räume, die meist als distinkt verstanden werden. Mit der Aufnahme von Markierungen, wie sie Menschen in der Natur, etwa auf Baumstämmen, hinterlassen, überträgt die Künstlerin diese Gedanken zur Überlagerung auf das einzelne Objekt. Dabei betrifft Gleichzeitigkeit auch den Charakter vieler anderer Gegenstände und unserer Bezugnahme auf sie: Das Wesen einer Eislandschaft besteht nicht allein in dem visuellen Eindruck, den sie beim Betrachter hinterlässt; auch ihre kaum sichtbare molekulare Struktur ist unabdingbar Teil desselben.
Ähnliches gilt für Tags und Schriftzüge, mit denen Writer der Streetart-Szene ihre Reviere im Stadtraum markieren. Wie Betrachter sie verstehen, hängt nicht zuletzt von ihren Vorkenntnissen ab: Können Eingeweihte die Codes auch inhaltlich deuten, bleibt Uninformierten allein die Auseinandersetzung mit ihren ästhetischen Qualitäten. Keine dieser Verständnisweisen übertrifft jedoch die andere – sie sind schlicht unterschiedlicher Art.
Und ein Phänomen in seiner vollen Wirkung zu erfassen, so legt Anne Wölks Arbeit letztlich nahe, heißt, viele dieser Facetten in einem Crossover-Prozess zu einem Eindruck zu verdichten. Das tut die Künstlerin , indem sie nicht nur Elemente zeigt, die zunächst recht unterschiedlich erscheinen, sondern auch, indem sie ihr eigenes künstlerisches Medium, die Malerei, auf seine Möglichkeiten untersucht: Anne Wölk deutet Räumlichkeit durch Überlagerungen an, zeigt Konkretes und Abstraktes, arbeitet mit einer breiten Farbpalette und hinterfragt das Verhältnis von Leinwand und aufnehmendem Raum.
Das ergibt Kunstwerke, die den Betrachter wohl deshalb in ihren Bann ziehen, da sie sich, gestalterisch vielfältig und farblich intensiv, als harmonisches Ganzes darstellen. So macht das beeindruckende Spiel mit Vielfalt und Einhalt den besonderen Reiz von Anne Wölks Arbeiten aus.
·Featured Artist Interview: Get to Know Anne Wölk
HI.LITE.HEAD, USA, (January 2012)
CONTEMPORARY YOUNG ARTIST ANNE WOLK
FEATURED ARTIST INTERVIEW: GET TO KNOW ANNE WÖLK
Remember when I first featured Anne Wölk’s art back in ’11 (click here for old post) with her neon-like paintings and drawings that resembled a cosmos of abstraction, details, and colors? Well since then I was very fortunate to get the opportunity to interview her. And as overdue as this post is, I truly thank you Anne Wolk for taking the time out of your busy schedule to bring us a bit closer to you creations. I had initially saw her art on Beautiful/Decay a while back and thought it was wonderful. There was something so captivating and alive about her collages that spoke to me so I was very curious to find out more. Read the full interview detailing Anne’s background, studio practice, sources of inspiration and her curious brainstorming process after the jump.
From all of us at Hi.Lite.Head, we wish you the best of luck!
1. Please give us a brief bio, where you are from and how you started in this field?
I was born and raised in the former East Germany and I grew up obsessively drawing in little black books. For the past 10 years, I have worked as an artist and since 2004 I have been living in Berlin. I studied painting at the University of Fine Arts Berlin-Weissensee and at the Chelsea College of Fine Art and Design, London. Since then, I have focused on making mixed media paintings with bright colors, geometric shapes and formal, street-art references. My work explores the relationship between cultural plurality and a recycling of pop-culture, by layering different motifs from Science Fiction film stills and quotations from an art historical background, like Symbolism, Pre-Raphaelites and color-field paintings. Overall I am constantly studying the possibilities of oil paint as a medium and trying to push my boundaries.
My artwork has been displayed in various solo and group exhibitions around Germany and in international shows for e.g., Turkey, Denmark, Slovenia, the Kyrgyz Republic, the United States, and Japan. Recently, some of my drawings and paintings have appeared in the Finnish art magazine HESA inprint, the Portuguese PARK Art Magazine and in the Canadian art publication Papirmasse. Awards include the national Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes scholarship, a residency at the Kunstverein Werkstatt Plettenberg, and a Grand Prize from Papirmasse Montréal.
2. What themes do you pursue in your paintings? and would you tell us about your creative process – how do you balance technical skills with aesthetic content, and intellect with intuition?
My paintings are mostly about the process of layering color and overlapping aesthetic content. The collage style allows me to reflect on the vibrancy of color and the process of storytelling. Intuition is an incredible resource and gift for using texture, blending, and highlights to create rich colors and depth. My experience has taught me that the more I use my intuition, the better I get at it. Nevertheless, I try to balance the connection between the wisdom of my analytical brain and the wisdom of my spiritual heart. My working methodology includes the idea of a coexistence of different painting languages. In this sense I investigate the nuance of details like fabric texture and the variations of shiny and rough surfaces created by different colors and different painterly approaches.
Much of my effort goes into planning and creating an illusion of depth or space without using perspective techniques. For this reason I focus on experimentally learning how to construct and arrange shapes and forms on a two-dimensional surface. My first step toward starting a new painting is in the construction of the wooden frame; during the working process sometimes I imagine it as bones or a vertebral column. Lately I am experimenting with transparent fabric. The idea is to show a part of the wood and the artistic production; ideally, the viewer becomes aware of the distances between the canvas, the frame and the wall. The observer has the possibility to reflect on their inner bodily construction, comparing oneself to the basic structure of an artwork. The art of painting is always about the intimate triangle between the artwork, the artist and the viewer.
My last works dealt with the topic of the forest, city borders, and the city’s outskirts. In many steps, tensions grow between the illusion of reality and the representation of, for e.g., the bodily skin of a painted tree. Maybe it is for that reason that I am so interested in Birch trees. I am fascinated by the bark that sometimes appears like a silken skin; it is especially the process of peeling and the contrast between the black and white stains that inspires my work. In Russia, birches symbolize the idea of virginal beauty, eternal youth and purity. It is no surprise, then, that in my paintings: art, emotions, and ethics are closely bound. Very few human actions take place without an emotional driver and so it is with the making of art. In this sense it is also true that I try to understand the expression and rising of emotional context in films and cannot stop using film stills as a resource.
3. Your paintings have such a great sense of color, where do you draw inspiration from?
I thoroughly enjoy contrast, for example, the conflict between darkness and brightness. This interest is reflected in nature’s processes of constant change; life becomes death, and death becomes life again. The varnish and the adding of different transparent layers on top of each other is a metaphor for this continuous circulation. Through this technique I can use both the additive and the subtractive blending of colors. Furthermore I am fascinated by the artificial brightness of Neon acrylic paint and the special perception of its transparency. The result is the confrontation of nature with a layer of unnatural and formalistic commentary. I have come to realize that I have an emotional sensitivity to color and that my color choices are strongly influenced by the street art of Berlin; I paint for the love of painting and the joy of creation.
4. What kind of influence(s), if at all, does your culture have on your art?
In general I am interested in collage and the combining of contrary elements from varying sources. Therefore I collect elements of film sequences, lines, rhythms and styles characterized by a fast tempo and virtuosity found in street-art forms. Berlin is fantastically urban with tags and street paintings made by artists from all over the world.
5. Any historical and/or contemporary artists that currently influence your work?
I appreciate the work of: Kai Althoff, Corinne Wasmuht, Daniel Richter, David Hockney, Franz West, Gerhard Richter, Pierre Soulages, Barnett Newman, Mark Rothko, Francis Bacon, Max Beckmann, Edvard Munch, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Arnold Böcklin, Albrecht Dürer, Matthias Grünewald.
6. What inspires you to keep going and how do you keep yourself motivated?
The most inspiring thing is studio swapping: visits from colleagues and visiting them in return. Also, good feedback from a recent exhibition keeps me motivated. There are millions of opportunities for artists to get new input. It is a surprise every time, when and with whom it happens.
7. What future plans do you have? any dream projects…
Currently I am planning a ten-meter long painting with a shadow and forest theme.
8. Professionally, (career-wise) what’s your goal? How do you bridge the gap between creativity and business?
For me it is important to find a way to paint figuratively in a contemporary sense. That means to investigate relevant discussions about narrative issues and representation in figurative art. I am willing to make a contribution to my field. My aim is a reputable career with international exhibitions in private and public institutions and galleries.
9. What are you working on at the moment? Any upcoming exhibitions or projects that you are excited about?
At the moment I am working on three canvases simultaneously with different content. One of them consists of hexagons and is a great experiment.
10. If you were to describe yourself in one word, what would it be?
11. Lastly, any words of advice for aspiring artists?
Just stay loose! Never take things for granted.
To see more of Anne Wolk’s work, head over here.
(All images copyright Anne Wolk)
Mini Interview Anne Wölk
|Written by Trippe|
|Wednesday, 28 September 2011 09:00|
Location? Age? Education? Website?
Berlin, 28, MFA Fine Arts, www.annewoelk.de
How would you describe your work to someone?
I am a contemporary figurative painter, who creates mixed-media paintings with a penchant for bright colors, geometric shapes, and street-art forms. My work explores the relationship between cultural plurality and a recycling of pop-culture, by layering different motifs from Science Fiction film stills and quotations from an art historical background, like Symbolism and color-field paintings. Overall I am constantly studying the possibilities of oil paint as a medium and trying to push my boundaries.
I appreciate the work of Kai Althoff, Corinne Wasmuht, Daniel Richter, David Hockney, Franz West, Gerhard Richter, Pierre Soulages, Barnett Newman, and Mark Rothko.
I always get two with cheese.
In the summer of 2009 I undertook a journey by car for several weeks along the French and Spanish-Atlantic coast with stops in Paris, Bordeaux, Vieux-Boucau, Biarritz, San Sebastian and Bilbao. I enjoyed myself immensely.
Sometimes I like the sound and the noise of the studio building with its different characters, but usually I love to listen to: audio books, The Cure, David Bowie, Jimi Hendrix, Elvis Costello, Erykah Badu, The Fugees, Faith No More, Jeff Buckley, Amy Winehouse, John Lennon, and Lassie Singers, (among others). Honestly I have no real daily routine, I paint when I am hot for my work. Late in the evening is the best time to concentrate. During the nighttime I get ready for new things and I have my best ideas.
I love to sell my paintings; however, I do a variety of jobs to earn money.
The most important tool is my mobile phone. I make shots of everything I like and collect ideas and details for my painting process.
Much of my effort goes into planning and creating an illusion of depth or space without using perspective techniques. For this reason I focus on experimentally learning how to construct and arrange shapes and forms on a two-dimensional surface. My first step toward starting a new painting is in the construction of the wooden frame; during the working process sometimes I imagine it as bones or a vertebral column.
The observer has the possibility to reflect on their inner bodily construction, comparing oneself to the basic structure of an artwork. The art of painting is always about the intimate triangle between the artwork, the artist and the viewer.
My current research deals with the topic of the forest, city borders, and the cityâ€™s outskirts. In many steps, tensions grow between the illusion of reality and the representation of, for e.g., the bodily skin of a painted tree. Maybe it is for that reason that I am so interested in Birch trees. I am fascinated by the bark that sometimes appears like a silken skin; it is especially the process of peeling and the contrast between the black and white stains that inspires my work. In Russia, birches symbolize the idea of virginal beauty, eternal youth and purity. It is no surprise, then, that in my paintings: art, emotions, and ethics are closely bound. Very few human actions take place without an emotional driver and so it is with the making of art.
I use mostly oil, acrylic and aerosol.
I am really excited about my next group show. It is an exhibition displaying drawings from international artists that share a passion for the drawing medium.
I would buy as many artworks as possible from artists I like at early stages in their careers.
Is to take a small road trip to RÃ¼gen, a German island two hours away from Berlin and look for the best beach to spend a good part of the day.
Berlin is fantastically urban with tags and street paintings made by artists from all over the world. I love to live on Torstrasse in Berlin-Mitte because it is diverse and dynamic.
Rollerbladers on the bicycle path piss me off!!
A Drawback, Curated by Perennial Art at Atelierhof Kreuzberg with artists: Sara Bomans, Iris van Dongen, Marcel Van Eeden, Michael Kirkham, Nathan K. Menglesis, Fiona Michie, Sebastiaan Schlicher, Witte Wartena, Robin Whitmore. The show runs from 28 September through 2 October 2011, opening on Friday the 30th of September 2011 from 7 to 10 pm. Gallery hours are Wed-Sun, 2 to 7 PM and by appointment.
Kunst in Kreuzberg E.V.
Text zur Ausstellung “MyPlace” im Kunstverein Münstlerland
2012: Jutta Meyer zu Riemsloh Coesfeld (Leiterin des Kunstverein Münsterland):
Anne Wölk: Landschaftsräume
Landschaftsräume und Naturbilder zwischen Realität und Fiktion bilden den Schwerpunkt in Anne Wölk künstlerischem Schaffen. Fotorealistische Elemente der Wirklichkeit verbinden sich fragmentarisch mit geometrischen Formen, Symbolen der Pop-Kultur, Drippings, Motiven aus Science-Fiction Film Stills, gesprühten Graffitis der Street-Art Szene, multikulturellen Symbolen und Zeichen zu einem illusionistischen Bildraum, der die Gesetze der Perspektive zugunsten eines zweidimensionalen Tiefenraum auflöst. Rückgriffe auf Landschaftsdarstellungen der Romantik oder die Tradition des Symbolismus des 19.Jahrhunderts sind durch eine fundierte Kenntnis der Kunstgeschichte ebenfalls gewollt. In diesen Modus der Überlagerungen und Staffelungen der Bildmotive ist der Mensch allgegenwärtig: Zum einen durch Hinterlassen von Zeichnen und Symbolen in der Landschaft – zu meist an Bäumen – welche ihren Platz eher in urbanen Räumen haben und Ausdruck einer autonomen Subkultur sind. Zum anderen auch als Figuren im Bild. Jung, trendmäßig, sportlich oder auch in Camouflage Kleidung angezogen, verweben sie sich im Gespinst der Motive und Farben und sind scheinbar Teil der Wirklichkeitsebene zwischen Realität und Fiktion. Nur selten zeigen sie ihr Gesicht. Sie sind nicht fassbar, ebenso wenig wie ihr Standort. Versunken im stereotypen Tun erscheint der Betrachter fast wie ein Eindringling in eine Szenerie, die vertraut und doch fremd erscheint.
Die illusionistischen Landschaften Anne Wölk präsentieren eine künstliche, emotionslose Welt, in der trotz greller, bunter Farben nichts blüht oder lebendig erscheint. Reale Trends, Assoziiertes und Erinnertes fügen sich zu einem atmosphärischen Bildraum zusammen, der sich auf gedanklicher Ebene mit der inhaltlichen Klärung der Beziehung zwischen Realität, Vision, Emotionalität und Erinnerung in der heutigen Zeit auseinandersetzt. Natur wird zum Projektionsraum für die Vielfalt kultureller und medialer Einflüsse und zum Spiegelbild für einen Zeitgeist der jungen Künstlergeneration, der Gegensätzliches zu vereinen sucht.
Ausstellungsbesprechung von netzwerk-international–
Anne Wölk in der Ausstellung “Realismus”
more info: http://netzwerk-international.de/anne-woelk.html
Beim ersten Anblick aus der Ferne der Arbeiten von Anne Wölk stechen sofort die kräftigen Farben ins Auge: leuchtendes Pink trifft auf Grasgrün, Sonnengelb auf dunkles Schwarz, Eisblau auf Orange. Es fesseln auch die ungewöhnlichen Formate, denn es befi nden sich einige kreisrunde Leinwände darunter. Diese Eindrücke lassen den Betrachter näher heran treten, um die Motive erkennen zu können. Die Darstellungen stimmen dann jedoch zunächst ratlos, kombiniert die Künstlerin nicht nur märchenhaft-schillernde Farben, sondern auch phantastisch-irreale Szenerien. Sie stellt ihre Figuren in die Weite eines undefi nierbaren Raumes, welcher auch zum Abstrakten tendieren kann, dessen graphische Muster sich zu einem Deckengewölbe oder Wandgraffi ti zusammenschließen oder doch nur Traumgebilde sind. Als Betrachter möchte man diese Bilder verstehen, die sich dem Auge als Utopie, als illusionistische Erfi ndung und unwirkliche Erscheinung präsentieren. Auf der Suche nach der Lösung des Rätsels ergreifen diese Bilder wie ein Sog und ziehen den Betrachter in ihre Welt, in die er eintaucht, gefangen vom Spiel der Farben und motivischen Versatzstücke. Immer wieder trifft man dabei auf Vertrautes: Sind das Bäume, ein Wald vielleicht? Oder ist es doch eine Insel im weiten Ozean? Eisschollen treiben dahin, Berge, Pyramiden, ein Pärchen hat sich zusammen gefunden, in einem Wohnraum, einer Halle, unter freiem Himmel? All das kann man sehen, doch zusammenbringen kann man es nicht. Die Kontexte wirken fremdartig und verfremden damit die gesamte Szene. Oft wird der Raum aufgebrochen, Distanzen, Proportionen und Perspektiven verschieben sich. Eine Holzstruktur fungiert als Hintergrund, die Maserung jedoch erscheint vergrößert und somit nah am Auge des Betrachters. Eine kleine schwarze Kugel mit einer Lichtaura wiederum, gestaltet wie eine Eklipse, verortet das Auge auch bedingt durch die geringe Größe im fernen Firmament, jedoch beleuchtet sie Dinge im Vordergrund von vorn. Die Sehgewohnheiten des menschlichen Auges werden unterwandert, was man zu erkennen glaubt verschwindet wieder im Unklaren und Vieldeutigen. Das Licht nimmt in den Bildern ohnehin eine besonders mystifi zierende Stellung ein. Mal scheint es wie ein göttlicher Lichtkegel von oben, dann durchfl utet es als leuchtende Farberscheinung den Schauplatz. Das Thema des Kreises als ideale Form von vollkommener Symmetrie ohne Anfang und Ende findet sich nicht nur im Format, sondern auch in den zahlreichen kugeligen Gebilden, die mal wie nahe Planeten im Raum schweben, dann wieder als abstraktes Stilelement in Form von Punkten das Bild beleben. Die Holzmaserung kann auch als Farbschlieren des fl ießenden Wassers oder der Abendröte im Himmel auftauchen. Sich wiederholende Formationen unterliegen also der Veränderung und Variation, was die Zuordnung eines Begriffs zu einem Bildelement zusätzlich erschwert. Leere Sprechblasen tauchen unvermittelt auf, dann diese fremden Planeten, die so nah sind, dass sie auf die Erde zu stürzen scheinen. Doch ist das die Erde? Fotorealistische Versatzstücke mögen es zunächst glauben machen, doch diese surrealen Landschaften entziehen sich dem Vorstellungsvermögen des Betrachters. Die Bilder unterliegen einem scheinbaren Chaos, und doch wohnt ihnen eine geheime Ordnung inne, die das Bildgefüge, diese fremde Welt, zusammen hält. Es ist ein Wechselspiel von Figuration, unbestimmtem Raum, vermeintlich benennbaren Fragmenten und völlig abstrakten Elementen, das diese Bilder mit Spannung aufl ädt. Vor allem das Aufeinandertreffen von und Abstraktion bildet einen Knotenpunkt in den Arbeiten von Anne Wölk, was die Verfl echtung von Realität, Imagination und malerischer Konstruktion thematisiert.
Die Künstlerin untersucht und thematisiert das illusionistische Naturbild, es entstehen Darstellungen, die Wirklichkeit, Illusion und Imagination verschmelzen. Nicht nur in der Prominenz von Landschaft und Natur zeigt sich Anne Wölks Bezug zur Romantik. In dieser Epoche kam es zur Aufwertung der Pflanzen. Die Natur wurde zu einem emotionsbeladenem Ort einer neuen religiösen Erfahrung. Wichtig für die Künstlerin ist auch das Licht als Mittel zur Wiedergabe von Tageszeiten – man denke hier nur an die lichtmetaphysischen „Tageszeiten“ von Philipp Otto Runge – und die Abbildung des Firmaments als Zeichen des Schöpfungsgedankens. Und nicht zuletzt erinnern ganz konkret die Eismeerbilder oder die Baumgruppe auf einer Anhöhe an Gemälde wie „Das Kreuz im Gebirge“ oder „Das Eismeer“ von Caspar David Friedrich. Dies alles vermischt sich bei Anne Wölk mit modernen Graffi tis, Farbfeldern, die nur auf die Wirkung des Kolorits ausgerichtet sind und Filmstills, die der Künstlerin als Vorlage dienen. Eine ganz eigene Synthese, welche in ihrer Zusammenführung und Gegenüberstellung Bilder höchster Dynamik entstehen lässt. Wie ein Film aus Einzelbildern besteht, so bilden die Arbeiten von Anne Wölk ein Konglomerat illusionistischer Traumwelten voller stimmungsvoller Atmosphäre.
Anne Wölk wurde 1982 in Jena geboren. Zwischen 2001 und 2004 absolvierte sie ein Studium der Malerei an der „Burg Giebichenstein“ Hochschule für Kunst und Design Halle in der Klasse von Prof. Ute Pleuger und bei Beate Spalthoff. Im Jahre 2004 studierte sie Malerei an der Kunsthochschule Berlin-Weißensee in der Klasse von Prof. Katharina Grosse und Prof. Antje Majewski. 2006 folgte ein Studienaufenthalt in London am Chelsea College of Art und ein Studienaufenthalt in Japan. 2007 erhielt sie ihr Diplom. Im Jahr darauf war sie Meisterschülerin bei Prof. Antje Majewski. Die junge Künstlerin erhielt bereits verschiedene Preise und Stipendien, so 2001 den 1. Preis für Malerei bei der 9. Thüringer Landesausstellung in Erfurt, 2004 bis 2008 ein Stipendium der „Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes“ in Bonn, 2006 ein Erasmus Stipendium am Chelsea College of Art, London und im Jahre 2008 ein Residenzstipendium vom Kunstverein Werkstatt Plettenberg, sowie eine Förderung durch die Marianne-Ingenwerth-Stiftung in Bonn. Anne Wölk hat ihre Arbeiten seit 2006 auf vielen Ausstellungen im In- und Ausland gezeigt, z. B. in Tokio, München, Hamburg, Berlin, Istanbul, New York und Ljubljana.
Gabriele Mayer, MZ– Wenn das Eismeer langsam schmilzt
Wenn das Eismeer langsam schmilzt
In der Galerie Lesmeister sind unter dem Titel „Elemente“ Landschaften von Anke Gesell und Anne Wölk zu sehen.
von Gabriele Mayer, Mittelbayrische Zeitung, Februar 2011, 09:19 Uhr
zur Ausstellung in der Galerie Isabelle Lesmeister, Regensburg
REGENSBURG. Die Gemälde von Anke Gesell und Anne Wölk präsentieren Landschaften. Landschaften im Zeitalter der Klimaerwärmung, genauer Landschaften, wie sie vielleicht in Zukunft einmal aussehen könnten. Doch Kritik ist ihre Sache nicht. Es geht um den Witz. Dazu zitieren die Künstlerinnen die Geschichte der Landschaftsmalerei herbei. Als da zum Beispiel wäre: das Matterhorn als Motiv. Das ist bei Anke Gesell grün bemoost. Und der Himmel drumherum ist nicht blau, sondern glüht dunkelrot. Anders als gewohnt, aber farblich völlig stimmig, diese neue ästhetische Welt. …
Young European Landscape,
editor: Collegium Hungaricum Berlin & Galerie Wolfsen Aalborg Denmark,
publisher: BSA – Uwe Goldenstein & Moholy-Nagy Gallery of CHB
(Dr. Veruschka Baksa-Soos)
Layout: Laslo Nadler
Format: 21 x 29,6 cm
2009: Text von Uwe Goldenstein M.A.
über die Arbeit von Anne Wölk für die Ausstellung Young European Landscape im Collegium Hungaricum Berlin:
Anne Wölk ist eine Landschaftsmalerin der ganz besonderen Art. In ihren vielschichtigen Szenerien eröffnet sich dem neugierigen Auge ein ganzes Panoptikum figürlicher und abstrakter Ebenen. Aber ganz unerwartet scheint eine Regieanweisung aus dem Off das offensichtliche Chaos auszubalancieren.
Dies zeigt schon auf den ersten Blick die Stärke von Anne Wölk, nämlich zwei divergierende Malprinzipien, die der Abstraktion und der gegenständlichen Komposition, ganz selbstverständlich und wohl temperiert miteinander verschmelzen zu lassen.
Das bei Anne Wölk oft auftretende Motiv einer vom Licht der untergehenden Sonne überfluteten Landschaft tritt in ihren Arbeiten in ungewöhnlicher Überlagerungsform auf. Die romantische Bildformel erfährt eine Konfrontation mit grellen Farbschlieren, geometrischen Mustern und wie Projektionen erscheinenden Figuren.
Dieses Beziehungsgeflecht ignoriert auf den ersten Blick die vom Genre der Landschaft
her eingeübte Bildtradition. Die Hauptakteurin Natur wird in eine künstliche Form
überführt, in der aber die Rahmenbedingungen erhalten geblieben sind. Denn die kontemplative Atmosphäre einer impressionsreichen Natur findet sich auch in den Bildern von Anne Wölk.
Relationen und Gesetzmäßigkeiten im Wölkschen Bildkosmos gehorchen dabei aber einer übergeordneten, absoluten Idee, die das einfache Abbild einer Landschaft überwindet und ein überdimensionales Konglomerat aus gegenständlichen Themen und abstrakten Effekten zum Vorschein bringt. Geheimnisvolle Erzählungen, hervorgerufen durch die Anwesenheit entspannt wirkender Figuren in der Natur treffen auf eine unsagbare,beinahe mystisch operierende Ebene der Abstraktion.
Anne Wölks Betrachtungsweise der Welt erinnert somit an die des japanischen
Romanciers Haruki Murakami, dessen mysteriöse Helden die Verhältnisse ebenso frei
von allen üblichen Reglements zu interpretieren wissen und eine Metaphorik beschwören, die das Mystische und das Gewöhnliche auf eine sich gegenseitig bedingende Ebene stellen. Denn sie fragen sich mitunter welche Nachteile sich im Alltag ergäben, „wenn man beispielsweise die Erde nicht als Kugel, sondern als riesigen Kaffeetisch auffasste.“ (…) So ist der Erzähler des weiteren der Ansicht, „dass die Welt sich aus einer Unendlichkeit von Möglichkeiten zusammensetzt. Und die Auswahl ist zu einem gewissen Grade den die Welt strukturierenden Individuen anheimgestellt. Die Welt ist ein aus kondensierenden Möglichkeiten bestehender Kaffeetisch.“1
In diesem Sinne lassen sich auch die malerischen Phantasien Wölks als einen von üblichen Bildgesetzen befreiten, autonomen Weltinnenraum begreifen. Die hierin wirkenden Synergien und Metaphern orientieren sich nicht an irgendeine vorgeformte Art von Aufklärung. Vielmehr wollen sie das Gegenteil erreichen. Die Einsicht, dass die Erinnerung an die Natur nur durch die Durchkreuzung der sie überlagernden nachmodernen Erzählungen bedingt ist, lassen Anne Wölks Szenerien als Anleitung zur Hinwendung zu freier Projektion und Assoziation verstehen. Dabei vermögen sie, sich dem kulturellen Muster der Trennung der darstellenden Medien grandios zu entziehen. Schließlich geht bei ihren Werken jegliche Narration von einer überblendeten und gleichzeitig eigendynamischen Natur aus – selbst wenn mitunter in ihren Bildern die figürliche Präsenz des Menschen fehlt. Hat denn die Romantik doch gesiegt?
1 Haruki Murakami, Hard-boiled Wonderland und das Ende der Welt, Frankfurt am Main 2000, S. 16-17
Rainer Beßling für die Kreiszeitung–
Ausstellung “Lost” Galerie im Park Bremen – Rückzug als Befreiung
Dass die Bilder einzelner Männer an verschatteten “Einsertischen” von einem Wiener Maler stammen, ist sicher kein Zufall. Die Donaumetropole genießt den Ruf einer in Jahrhunderte langer Pflege lieb gewonnenen Neigung zu Einsamkeit und Melancholie.
Wie es den Männern an ihren Tischen zumute ist, hält Adam Bota verborgen. Ihre Gesichter liegen im Dunkel, Identität und Ausdruck bleiben ein Geheimnis. Die Gesamtsituation ist düster zu nennen. Ob Botas Protagonisten aber nun an den Rand gedrängt, tragisch vereinzelt sind oder im immerhin öffentlichen Raum selbst gewählten Rückzug und ihre Individualität als trotzigen Gegenpol zum Gesellschaftlichen und Geselligen kultivieren, ist kaum zu entscheiden. Malerisch lässt Bota sie im Zitat eines postimpressionistischen Pinselduktus im Raumganzen aufgehen. Ohne klare Körperkonturen werden sie Teile einer in sich abgeschlossenen Atmosphäre. Ob sich die Sitzenden, Wartenden, Versunkenen im Off auflösen oder ob sie sich der Fixierung durch andere entziehen, ist offen.
“Lost” heißt die Ausstellung in der Bremer Galerie im Park, in der Botas Bilder neben den Werken fünf weiterer Künstlerinnen und Künstler noch bis zum 1. Mai zu sehen sind. Eingebunden ist die Schau in eine Veranstaltungsreihe des Bremer Kulturensembles “über das Romantische”. Das Projekt, das in der Folge der Jahreszeiten Jugend, Liebe, Krankheit und Tod thematisiert, trägt den Titel “Lebendig!”
Vielleicht ein wenig überraschend, Lebendigkeit und Verlorenheit zusammen zu sehen. Uwe Goldenstein, Kurator der Ausstellung, klärt in einem Statement zu seinem Ausstellungskonzept auf. Er will “Lost” positiv verstanden wissen “als Aufforderung zur Rückbesinnung auf unsere je eigenen, suggestiven Ideen und Sehnsüchte nach individueller Freiheit. Begrifflichkeiten wie das Sichverlieren, das Streben nach der Einlösung der Identität in eine erhabene und artifiziell abgeschottete Welt sind in dieser Schau als Leitmotive für eine zeitgemäße romantische Orientierung zu verstehen.”
Die romantische Empfindung des auf sich selbst zurück geworfenen Ich wäre also eine Chance zur Selbstfindung und individuellen Lebensgestaltung in einer fremdgesteuerten und funktionalen Welt? Der Verlierer wäre der potenzielle Gewinner? Das von Goethe der Romantik zugeschriebene Attribut des “Kranken” ließe sich als Metapher für eine Verpuppung zum Vitalen, Gesunden verstehen.
Das dies aber nicht ganz einfach zu haben ist, dass sich Utopie und Sehnsucht an der Wirklichkeit reiben und die romantisch Flüchtigen zwischen lost und found pendeln, machen die Exponate sichtbar.
Franziska Klotz lässt sinnbildlich zwei Wölfe über eine Straße wandern, Wappentiere der Einzelgänger in einer fremden Welt auf der Pirsch, gemalt in einer neuen neu-wilden Gestik, in der die Farben explodieren, dramatische Verläufe nehmen, sich zur drohenden Natur zusammenballen. Anne Wölk verstellt in ihrem großformatigen “Pioneer Species” einen Raum in magischem Mondlicht mit dichten Birkenstämmen vor einer Mauer – hell erleuchtet und doch Sperrgebiet, ein soghafter Ort, der Erkundungsdrang und Gründergeist weckt und in überbelichteter Künstlichkeit fremd zu bleiben droht.
Jens Thiele collagiert Räume, die an Filmsets erinnern, vereinzelte, verlassene Bewohner einer Welt von Versatzstücken. In seiner Werkreihe “Paare” zieht er Eiseskälte und Statik in das Nebeneinander von Menschen ein, bitterer Fingerzeig auf die potenzielle Einsamkeit zu zweit, gegen die bekennendes Einzelgängertum geradezu eine Erfüllung sein sollte.
Alexander Tineis Porträts besitzen eine verstörende Direktheit und Frontalität. Hermetisch wirken die mit Äderwerk gezeichneten Figuren, dabei aber auch zugewandt in einer Mischung aus Eigensinn und Selbstaufgabe, zwischen Sich-einfinden und Sich-herausnehmen.
Körper aus Textfragmenten in Gestalt pastoser, wie direkt aus der Tube aufgetragener Buchstaben formt Gabor Nagy. Im Nähertreten zur Lektüre, in der sich erst allmählich halbwegs zusammenhängende Sätze erschließen lassen, gehen die Figurationen verloren. Sinn und Form sind in dieser Wahrnehmung nur schwer zusammenzubringen.
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