About the Artist
Born in 1969 in Cologne, German, Anja has the following educational or professional training:
- Technical college for design (in Cologne), completion of technical diploma
- Apprenticeship in the K + K advertising agency, Photographer Udo Klein in Cologne, completion apprenticeship certificate
- Studies at the Art Center College of Design Europe (La Tour-de-Peilz, Switzerland),
- Degree Bachelor of Fine Arts
After my training I worked as a graphic designer in various advertising agencies. After a few years I became self-employed and founded the design company »Planet Pixel« (now Weigelstein). Here I mainly did editorial and graphic design for the music and fashion industry. For a few years now I‘ve shifted my focus to painting.
2015, Charlotte Trossbach und Anja Wülfing, Galerie Krips, Cologne, Germany
2015, Gruppe 69, Atelierzentrum Ehrenfeld, Cologne, Germany
2015, I eyegenartige Kunsttage, Galerie Eyegenart, Cologne, Germany
2016, Gruppe 69 2. Werkschau, Atelierzentrum Ehrenfeld, Cologne, Germany
2016, Kunstsommer, Galerie Eyegenart, Cologne, Germany
2017, Gruppe 69 #3/Werkschau, Atelierzentrum Ehrenfeld, Cologne, Germany
2017, II Kunstsommer, Galerie Eyegenart, Cologne, Germany
2017, art Troisdorf, Kunsthaus Troisdorf, Troisdorf, Germany
2017, III eyegenartige Kunsttage, Galerie Eyegenart, Cologne, Germany
2018, Gruppe 69 #4/Werkschau, Atelierzentrum Ehrenfeld, Cologne, Germany
2018, III Kunstsommer, Galerie Eyegenart, Cologne, Germany
2018, IV eyegenartige Kunsttage, Galerie Eyegenart, Cologne, Germany
2019, Gruppe 69 #5/Werkschau, Atelierzentrum Ehrenfeld, Cologne, Germany
2019, V eyegenartige Kunsttage, Galerie Eyegenart, Cologne, Germany
2021, Fresh Perspectives: Pt. 1, Online Exhibition, London Paint Club, London, GB
2021, Kunstroute 2021, The Stage Galerie, Cologne Germany
2021, Anja Wülfing »Sehr geehrte Damen und Herrscher«, Fritz Böhme Galerie, Cologne Germany 2021, »Das Glück dieser Erde...«, Galerie am Dom, Bad Soden, Germany
2021, Groupexhibition, Alabriga Hotel Gallery Galatea, Barcelona, Spain
2022, International Contemprary Art Fair, VAN GOGH Art Gallery, Paris, France
I work with contrasts and opposites, because two hearts beat in my chest. One beats for the Masters of the Baroque and Rococo, the other for abstract painting. In my paintings contrasts get together: figurative elements meet abstraction, tradition meets progression. Even opposing properties of composition such as light / dark, dynamic / static, strict / playful, hard / soft, crowded / empty help me to find a balance in the presence of the two styles without one of them dominating the composition. In the baroque portraits themselves there are already numerous contrasts that seem wonderfully absurd to us today, e.g. the lace collar that is worn with metal armor. The aristocratic personalities also appear stiff and distant due to their posture and clothing, but their gaze is often turned to- wards the viewer and it is warm and friendly. I place the portraits in an abstract, contrasting environment of colors, shapes and surfaces. Both styles seem to be competing for attention and yet benefit from the other’s presence.
WHAT THE CRITICS SAY
Anja Wülfing lives and works in Cologne. She completed an apprenticeship with the photographer Udo Klein, then did a Bachelor of Fine Arts in communication design, and finally founded and managed a graphic design agency. Something particularly struck me while researching Anja Wülfing, and I think that is also reflected in the rooms of her exhibition: Anja Wülfing‘s paintings, her art, her approach are shaped by growth, change and challenge. She took an important step from graphic design to painting. Right from the start, she paints mainly natura- listic, combining painting with ideas from graphics and mainly painting birds and dogs on historical photo- graphs. She creates new worlds that make the viewer smile and take him away into his own imagination. The selected works that we can see in the current exhibition »Sehr geehrte Damen und Herrscher...« also invite you to dream. The title, both an allusion to the characters shown, as well as a reference to what she put together with the gallery owner Fritz Böhme: an invitation and a surprise at the same time.
Among other things, the artist deals with Baroque Masters, whom she studies intensively in order to then, inspired by their works, devote herself meticulously and precisely to oil painting and bring the figures onto the canvas. Once captured, she sends the characters on a journey: free of rules, emotionally charged and intuitive, she finally creates the context of the respective work in acrylic. Every picture exhibited is full of tension. You can feel the passion and at the same time the precision of the artist, the will to appreciate the old masters and to challenge them at the same time. Through placing the classical figures in a modern, abstract context, she challenges the viewer (us) to join her on her path between the two apparent opposites.
The Flemish painter Anthonis van Dyck was considered a child prodigy who at the age of 19 became a collaborator of the world-famous Baroque painter Peter Paul Rubens. Van Dyck‘s paintings, such as his portrait of the young Prince Wilhelm II from 1641, are still captiva- ting today with their emotional depth and their photorealistic richness of detail. In the Fritz Böhme Galerie in Rothehausstrasse, visitors can currently see the finesse of Van Dyck’s painting for themselves - but the paintings on display do not come from the Flemish estate, but from the brushstroke of the Cologne artist Anja Wülfing. The 51-year-old adapts the world of figures from the Baroque to add aspects of abstract painting to her portraits: “Basically, I find the old masters like van Dyck and Franz Winterhalter extremly fascinating,” says Wül- fing, “but I also have a great passion to abstract painting.”
The painter combines these two preferences in a harmonious whole: she paints historical personalities - such as the Belgian Queen Louise d‘Orléans - in the style of the baroque painters and places them in the striking setting of abstract play of colors and shapes: “I study the history of the personalities and think about which colors go with their characters, which feelings I want to convey.”
The technical skill with which she adapts the portraits of the venerable painters is remarkable - the expressiveness of the depicted, the practiced brushstroke, the interplay of light and shadow resembles that of the historical models down to the last folds of the baroque robes. Wülfing‘s paintings appear all the more remarkable against the background of her short artistic creative period: „I started painting very late,“ explains the artist, „namely only about six years ago.“
Previously, Wülfing had completed an apprenticeship with the Cologne photographer Udo Klein, studied at the Swiss Art Center College of Design and founded her own graphics agency, Planet Pixel und Weigelstein.“
Despite creative training, Wülfing only found her way to classical painting in 2015 through her father. He was also active as a painter, but concentrated on the representation of airplanes and scenes of the air war. The historical reference was already clear to him, however, as he always placed the passenger and war machines painted in oil in a historically accurate and comprehensible context. With age, however, the painter‘s eyes began to cause problems: “So he gave me his oil paints, canvases and brushes and said: So, now it‘s your turn,” explains Wülfing. The autodidact used her father‘s materials to teach herself the craft of classic oil and acrylic painting: “I read a lot and watched videos to learn the various techniques,” she explains.
Under the title »Sehr geehrte Damen und Herrscher...« Wülfing is now presenting her work in the gallery Fritz Böhme in Cologne. The art historian Laura Toussaint, who came from Luxembourg and who opened the exhibition, also paid tribute to the artist‘s painterly skill: “Once captured, she sends the characters on a journey: free of rules, emotionally charged and intuitive, she finally creates the context of the respective work in acrylic.”