Wolfgang Wesener :
Keith Haring, 1986 © Wolfgang Wesener (WOWE)
Andy Warhol ,1986 © Wolfgang Wesener (WOWE)
Leo Castelli, 1988 © Wolfgang Wesener (WOWE)
Ilona Staller, 1995 © Wolfgang Wesener (WOWE)
Ed Koch, 2009 © Wolfgang Wesener (WOWE)
John Waters, 2010 © Wolfgang Wesener (WOWE)
Duane Michals, 2012 © Wolfgang Wesener (WOWE)
April Gornik, 2012 © Wolfgang Wesener (WOWE)
Leica Gallery Prague presents the iconic portraits made by German photographer Wolfgang Wesener (wowe).
There is a timeless quality about wowe’s photos . If you look at his portraits of people who have formed the culture and the politics of our times, you will immediately grasp an aura of greatness that is beyond category. The greatness of ultimate achievement is something that only a man can capture who has a vision of greatness himself.
If you have the opportunity to sit for a portrait for wowe it will immediately become clear, how this is achieved. There is no superfluous gesture, no moment without thought. Lighting is set perfectly. This can be done in a studio setting, where he works like a true master, never using more than one light on the person he portrays. There is a reason: "In daylight there’s also just one sun“, he says. He has perfected his minimalist technique to the point, that he can even use in the spur of a moment, a small flashlight and reaches high over his head to flood the situation with momentary brightness. This is the tradition of imagery that has been around for much longer than photography itself. The portrait thus becomes a document with an eternal quality .
Growing up in the Mosel region of Germany wowe studied his craft at the famed Folkwang Schule in Essen. This is one of the most influential schools of art in all of Europe, instilling a sense of both tradition and vanguard curiosity in its students. While still in University in the early 80s wowe started to take pictures for Spex, a magazine whose mix of intellectual debate and pop subjects changed the style of culture reporting in Germany forever.
In 1984 wowe moved to New York, where he became the photographer of famous society columnist Stephen Saban. It was in legendary nightclubs like Area, Palladium and Limelight where wowe crafted his skill of impromptu portraiture that forever set him apart of his colleagues. In New York he also started to work on his large body of color work shown in this exhibition. Most of these grand portraits were the result of a close relationship with the legendary weekend magazine of the German daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung designed by Willy Fleckhaus, whose art director Hans-Georg Pospischil was known for giving a new generation of groundbreaking photographers a forum.
When wowe moved to Italy in 1990 with his family, wowe became global. In addition to the Frankfurter Allgemeine Magazin he worked for Vanity Fair, the New Yorker, Stern and the weekend magazines of the New York Times, The Observer and the Telegraph. A large body of his work has been published in a two volume set of books entitles „Essence“, which accompanied his retrospective at the photo museum C/O Berlin.
Since 2009 wowe is back in New York, where he continues to chronicle greatness. wowe’s latest work is done mostly using available light, a medium format camera and black and white film. With photography becoming more and more a form of high art he is part of a vanguard again.
Andrian Kreye, curator
Portraits by wowe
From November 2, 2012 to January 6th, 2013
Leica Gallery Prague
Mon/Fri: 8 a.m. – 9 p.m.
Sat/Sun: 2 p.m. – 8 p.m.