Wim Wenders (b.1945 Düsseldorf, Germany) is one of the most important figures to emerge from the New German Cinema period of the 1970s. Alongside directing atmospheric auteur films the artist works with the medium of photography, and his poignant images of desolate landscapes engage themes including memory, time, loss, nostalgia and movement.

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Wim Wenders by Peter Lindbergh, 2015

GALLERY EXHIBITIONS

Blain|Southern Berlin
Time Capsules. By the side of the road.

Time Capsules. By the side of the road.

17 September – 14 November 2015

INSTITUTIONS

Fundació Sorigué, Leida, ES
Photographs

Photographs

11 October 2013 – 31 March 2014

Stiftung Museum Kunstpalast, Düsseldorf, DE
4 Real & True 2

4 Real & True 2

18 April – 30 August 2015

BIOGRAPHY

Wenders’ long-running artistic project, Pictures from the Surface of the Earth, began in the early 1980s and was subsequently pursued by the artist for the next twenty years. The initial photographic series in this body of work was titled Written in the West which Wenders produced when criss-crossing through the American West in preparation for his film Paris, Texas (1984). This became the starting point for the artist’s nomadic journey across the globe, travelling through countries including Germany, Australia, Cuba, Israel and Japan to take photographs which capture the essence of a moment, place or space.

There is an honesty to the artist’s image making whereby each photographic frame has been precisely selected and defined so as to minimise any need for manipulation to the film negative. Wenders has described his dislike of the notion of the tourist, vacantly and haphazardly snapping away at the landscape; he articulates how the equilibrium of a photograph must be in balance at the time the shot is taken so that colour, composition and subject are in perfect harmony. Accordingly, the artist’s choice of camera and film has always been of the utmost importance to him, and whilst he began using 35mm Polaroid cameras, he has since worked with medium-sized formats using the Plaubel Makina 6 x 7 and a Fuji 6 x 17 panoramic. These cameras allow for Wenders to produce large-format prints which envelope the viewer, engulfing their field of vision and presenting an intimate encounter with the space that each image captures.

Paradoxically, what often holds powerful presence within each photograph is the notion of disappearance or desertion, and resultantly, it is often inanimate objects which suggest a latent narrative. An empty, yellowing hotel lobby contains a semi-circle of brightly coloured armchairs which radiate against a grey pebble-dashed wall; a deserted tarmac road accentuates the fire-engine red of a SAFEWAY sign, its solid dark shadow forming a distorted double of this brand’s typography; a barren and dry desert landscape sings against a the clear purity of an azure-blue sky. Wenders once said that photography is akin to ‘watching death at work,' as the unique moments that a negative captures will then change—the architecture or people in the images will disappear with time.

Wenders studied medicine and philosophy before settling in Paris as a painter and engraver at Johnny Friedländer’s studio in 1966. His career as a filmmaker began in 1967, when he enrolled at the newly founded Academy of Film and Television, Munich. By the late 1960s he had made several short films, some of which were influenced by American artists including Andy Warhol—these were characterised by their long and uneventful scenes. Along with fifteen other directors and writers, in 1971 he founded the company Film Verlag der Autoren, then directing his Road Movie Trilogy Alice in the Cities (1973), The Wrong Move (1974) and Kings of the Road (1975), where his characters confront their lack of roots in post-war Germany.

He won the Golden Palm at Cannes Film Festival in 1984 along with the Best Director award at the BAFTAs for his film Paris, Texas. His film The State of Things (1982) was awarded the Golden Lion in Venice. The artist’s critically acclaimed film Wings of Desire was made in 1987, winning him the Best Director award at Cannes. With a strong love of music, Wenders’ best-known observational piece is the documentary Buena Vista Social Club (1999), this film subsequently received an Oscar nomination. His films Pina (2011) and The Salt of the Earth (2014) have also been nominated for an Oscar. At the Berlin International Film Festival he won the Silver Bear for The Million Dollar Hotel (2000). During the 65. Berlin International Film Festivals, Wenders was presented with the Honorary Golden Bear for his lifetime achievement. Every Thing will be fine was part of the official program. His feature film Les Beaux Jours d’Aranjuez, with a script based on the play from the Austrian writer Peter Handke, was shot in 3D in 2015  and premiered at the 73rd Venice International Film Festival 2016. His latest film Submergence based on Jonathan M. Ledgard’s starring Academy Award winner Alicia Vikander and James McAvoy will have its World premier at the Toronto International Film Festival this year and on the occasion of the German Premiere at Filmfest Hamburg, Wim will be presented the Douglas Sirk Award for his outstanding achievements within the film industry and film culture.

Wenders became a member of the Academy of Arts Berlin in 1984. He was awarded honorary doctorates at the Sorbonne University in Paris (1989), the Theological Faculty of University of Fribourg (1995), the University of Louvain (2005) and the Architectural Faculty of the University of Catania (2010). He is presently the European Film Academy president and is a member of the order Pour le Mérite. He was teaching film as a professor at the Academy of Fine Arts in Hamburg for twenty years until this year.

Since 1986, Wenders' photographs have been exhibited internationally at museums and galleries including the Centre Pompidou, Paris, FR (1986), Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin, DE (2001), the Guggenheim Bilbao, ES (2002), the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, AU (2003), the Shanghai Museum of Art, CN (2004), the Scuderie del Quirinale in Rome, IT (2006), the Museu de Arte de São Paulo, BR (2010), the Deichtorhallen, Hamburg, and Multimedia Art Museum, Moscow, RU (2012), the Fundació Sorigué, Lleida, ES (2013), the Villa Pignatelli, Naples, IT and GL Strand, Copenhagen, DE (2014), and a major retrospective of his photographs at Stiftung Museum Kunstpalast, Düsseldorf, DE (2015).

His forthcoming exhibition at The Photographers’ Gallery is dedicated to the medium of polaroids and will present a selection of Wenders’ vast archive of poloaroids for the first time. The exhibition will travel to the C/O Berlin in 2018.

 

 

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CV

1945, Born in Düsseldorf, DE
Lives and works in Berlin, DE


EDUCATION

1970
Hochschule für Fernsehen und Film, Munich, DE

1963-5
Studied medicine and philosophy in Munich, Freiburg and Düsseldorf, DE

 

AWARDS AND POSITIONS

2017
Dougals Sirk Award, Filmfest Hamburg, Hamburg, DE
Hans Ehrenberg Prize, Bochum, DE

2016
Max Hermann Award, Sparkassen-Kulturstiftung Rheinland, Dusseldorf, DE

2015
Golden Honorary Bear of the Berlin Film Festival, DE

2014
Homage and Honorary Golden Bear for his lifetime achievement, 65th Berlin International Film Festival, DE

2010
Honorary Doctorate, Architectural Faculty of the University of Catania, IT

2005
Honorary Doctorate, University of Louvain, BE

2001
Professor at the Hochschule für Bildende Künste (School of Fine Arts), Hamburg, DE

1995
Honorary Doctorate in Divinity, Fribourg University, CH

1993
Honorary Professor at the HFF (Academy of Film and Television), Munich, DE

1991
Appointed Chairman and later President of the European Film Academy Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau Award, Bielefeld, DE

1989
Honorary Doctorate, Sorbonne, Paris, FR Elected member of the Akademie der Künste, Berlin, DE

 

SELECTED FILM AWARDS

2015
The Salt of the Earth, Oscar® Nominee in the category Best Documentary Feature

2014
The Salt of the Earth, Special Prize of the Jury Un Certain Regard, Festival de Cannes

2012
PINA, Oscar® Nominee, Best Documentary Feature

2011
PINA, Gilde Film Prize, Best Documentary
PINA, Academy Award (Oscar) Best Documentary Feature Nominee
PINA, British Independent Film Award (BIFA) Foreign Independent Film Category Nominee
PINA, European Film Award (EFA) Documentary Prix Arte Award
PINA, Berlin 61. International Film Festival (official selection, out of competition) PINA, German Film Prize for Best Documentary PINA, The Dokville tradeshow Ludwigsburg, German documentary film prize

2009
Buena Vista Social Club, German Film Award in Gold, Best Documentary
Buena Vista Social Club,”Le Nombre d’Or”, International Widescreen Festival – Production Solution Award
Buena Vista Social Club, Noosa Film Festival, Australia, Best Documentary
Buena Vista Social Club,Box Office Germany Award – BOGEY – for more than 1000 admissions per release print

2008
Palermo Shooting, Festival de Cannes (official selection)

2005
Don’t Come Knocking, European Film Award for Best Camera

2004
The Robert Bresson Award, Rome, IT Master of Cinema, Mannheim, DE Land of Plenty, Official Selection Venice Film Festival Land of Plenty, UNESCO Award

2003
The Soul of a Man, Emmy Award The Soul of a Man, São Paulo Film Festival: Audience Award for Best Documentary

2000
The Million Dollar Hotel, Berlin Film Festival: Silver Bear Jury Prize

1999
Buena Vista Social Club, European Film Award: Best Documentary
Buena Vista Social Club, New York Film Critics: Best Documentary
Buena Vista Social Club, Los Angeles Film Critics: Best Documentary
Buena Vista Social Club, Edinburgh International Film Festival: Standard Life Audience Award
Buena Vista Social Club, National Board of Review: Best Documentary
Buena Vista Social Club, Academy Award Nominee: Best Documentary
Buena Vista Social Club, Seattle Film Festival: Golden Space Needle Best Documentary

1997
The End of Violence, German Film Prize: Gold Director’s Prize

1996
A Trick of the Light, German Short Film Award in Silver
A Trick of the Light, Friedrich-Wilhelm-Murnau Award

1994
Beyond the Clouds, Venice Film Festival, FIPRESCI Award
Beyond the Clouds, David di Donatello Award, Best Cinematography
Beyond the Clouds,Silver Ribbon, Italian Film Journalists, Best Score
Lisbon Story, Official Selection at Cannes Film Festival, Un Certain Regard

1993
Far Away, So Close!, Cannes: Grand Jury Prize Far Away, So Close!, Bavarian Film Award: Best Director

1992
Until the End of the World, Guild Award in Gold: Best German Film

1987
Wings of Desire, Cannes: Best Director Wings of Desire, European Film Prize: Best Director Wings of Desire, Los Angeles Film Critics Award: Best Foreign Film & Photography Wings of Desire, New York Film Critics Circle: Best Cinematography Wings of Desire, German Film Award in Gold: Best Film & Cinematography Wings of Desire, Bavarian Film Award: Director Wings of Desire, Independent Spirit Award Wings of Desire, Guild Award in Silver: Best German Film
Wings of Desire, Prix Lèon Moussinac, French Critics Award: Best Foreign Film

1985
Tokyo-Ga, London Film: Outstanding film of the year

1984
Paris, Texas, Cannes Film Festival: FIPRESCI Award
Paris, Texas, Cannes Film Festival: Prize of the Ecumenical Jury
Paris, Texas, Cannes Film Festival: Golden Palm Paris, Texas, BAFTA Film Award: Best Director Paris, Texas, Prix Lèon Moussinac, French Critics Award: Best Foreign Film Paris, Texas, German film Prize/Silver: Production
Paris, Texas, German film Prize/Silver: Production
Paris, Texas, German film Prize/Gold: Best Cinematography
Paris, Texas, Barvarian Film Award: Best Cinematography
Paris, Texas, Guild Award in Silver: Best German Film

1982
The State of Things, Venice: Golden Lion Prize and Fipresci Prize The State of Things, German Film Award, Gold: Best Film & Cinematography

1981
Nick’s Film – Lightning over Water, German Film Award /Silver: Production

1978
The American Friend, German Film Prize, Gold: Best Director and Best Editing The American Friend, German Film Prize, Silver: Production

1976
Kings of the Road, Chicago Film Festival: Best Film Kings of the Road, Cannes Film Festival: Fipresci Award

1975
Wrong Move, German Film Prize: Best Director; Best Screenplay; Best Cinematography; Best Editing; Best Score; Best Script; Best Acting Ensemble

1972
The Goalkeeper’s Fear of the Penalty, Venice Film Festival, Fipresci Award

 

SELECTED EXHIBITIONS

2017
Instant Stories. Wim Wenders’ Polaroids, The Photographers’ Gallery, London, UK 
Land of Plenty, Galerie Bastian, Berlin, DE

2015
In broad daylight even the sounds shine. Wim Wenders scouting in Portugal, Reservatório da Mãe d'Água das Amoreiras, Lisbon, PT
Time Capsules. By the side of the Road. Wim Wenders’ recent photographs. Blain|Southern Berlin, DE
Wim Wenders, Villa e Collezione Panza, Varese, IT Wim Wenders, Stiftung Museum Kunstpalast, Düsseldorf, DE

2014
Wim Wenders: Places Strange & Quiet, GL Strand, Copenhagen, DK
Wim Wenders: Urban Solitude, Palazzo Incontro, Rome, IT

2013
Wim Wenders. Appunti di Viaggio. Armenia Giappone Germani. Villa Pignatelli, Naples, IT
Wim Wenders: Photographs, Fundació Sorigué, Leida, ES

2012
Places Strange and Quiet, Ostlicht. Galerie Für Fotografie, Vienna, AT
Pictures from the Surface of the Earth, Dirimart, Istanbul, TR
Pictures from the Surface of the Earth, Multimedia Art Museum, Moscow, RU
Places, strange and quiet, Harald Falckenberg Exhibition Space, Deichtorhallen, Hamburg, DE
Beyond Memory, (group exhibition) The Museum on the Seam, Jerusalem, IL

2011
Places, strange and quiet, Haunch of Venison, London, UK

2010
Places, strange and quiet, Museu de Arte de São Paulo, BR

2009
Journey to Onomichi, Heiner Bastian, Berlin, DE

2006
Wim Wenders- Immagini dal Pianeta Terra, Scuderie del Quirinale, Rome, IT Wim Wenders, Museum of Contemporary Art, Belgrade, RS Journey to Onomichi, (with Donata Wenders), Omotesando Hills Gallery, Tokyo, JP

2004
Wim Wenders, Aarhus Kunstmuseum, DK Wim Wenders, James Cohan Gallery, New York, US
Images of Time and Place, Contemporary Views of Landscape, Lehman College Art Gallery, New York, US
Wim Wenders, Galleria Marabini, Bologna, IT Pictures from the Surface of the Earth, Millennium Art Museum, Beijing, CN Wim Wenders, Shanghai Museum of Art, Shanghai, CN Wim Wenders, Guangdong Museum of Art, Guangzhou, CN

2003
Pictures from the Surface of the Earth, Haunch of Venison, London, UK Wim Wenders, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, AU Wim Wenders, City Art Gallery, Wellington, NZ; Juerg Judin, Zurich, CH

2002
Pictures from the Surface of the Earth, Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao, ES

2001
Pictures from the Surface of the Earth, Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin, DE

2000
Buena Vista Social Club, Rose Gallery, Bergamot Station, Santa Monica, US

1996
Wim Wenders: Landscape and Memory, Gallery of Contemporary Photography, Santa Monica, US
Wim Wenders: Photos (in conjunction with the publication Wim Wenders: Photos), Goethe Institut, Munich, DE; Goethe Institutes
worldwide

1995
Once - Photographs by Wim Wenders, FNAC, Berlin, DE; Villa Rufolo, Ravello, IT 

1994
Once - Photographs by Wim Wenders, Villa delle Rose, Bologna, IT; FNAC, Paris, FR; Parco, Tokyo, JP
Wim Wenders Photographs, Sala Parpallo Palau Dels Scala, Valencia, Spain; San Telmo Museum, San Sebastian, ES

1993
Once - Photographs by Wim Wenders, Palazzo delle Esposizioni, Rome, IT; Schirmer/ Mosel, Munich, DE
Wim Wenders Photographs, Venice Biennale, Venice, IT; Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebaek, DK

1992
Wim Wenders Photographs, Shibuya Seibu Dept. Store, Tokyo, JP; Kiyomizu Temple, Kyoto, JP
Wim Wenders, Musée de L’Elysée, Lausanne, CH
Robert Adams – Wim Wenders, Amerika Haus, Berlin, DE
Written in the West, Städtische Galerie Schwarzes Kloster, Freiburg (Breisgau), DE

1991
Wim Wenders Photographs, Hochschule für Fernsehen und Film, Munich, DE; Fahey/Klein Gallery, Los Angeles, US

1990
Wim Wenders Photographs, Robert Adams – Wim Wenders, Galerie Marie-Louise Wirth, Zurich, CH Written in the West, Saint-Yrieix-La-Perche, FR

1989
Wim Wenders Photographs, Galerie F. C Gundlach, Hamburg, DE

1988
Written in the West, Palazzo della Triennale di Milano, Milan, IT; Film Society of Miami, US; Goethe Institut, Stockholm, SE; Goethe Institut, Copenhagen, DK

1987
Written in the West, Encontros de Fotografia, Coimbra, PT

1986
Written in the West, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, FR


FULL LENGTH FICTIONAL FEATURE FILMS

2017
Submergence

2016
Les beaux jours d'Aranjuez

2015
Every Thing Will Be Fine

2011
PINA (3D)

2008
Palermo Shooting

2005
Don’t Come Knocking

2004
Land of Plenty

2003
The Blues Series: The Soul of a Man

2002
Ode to Cologne

2000
The Million Dollar Hotel

1999
Buena Vista Social Club 

1997
The End of Violence

1996
A Trick of the Light

1995
Beyond the Clouds (with Michelangelo Antonioni)

1994
Lisbon Story

1993
Faraway, So Close!

1991
Until the End of the World

1989
Notebook on Cities and Clothes

1987
Wings of Desire

1985
Tokyo-Ga

1984
Paris, Texas

1982
The State of Things Hammett

1980
Lightning over Water

1978
The American Friend

1976
Kings of the Road

1975
Wrong Move

1973
Alice in the Cities

1972
The Scarlet Letter

1971
The Goalkeeper's Fear of the Penalty

1970
Summer in the City


DOCUMENTARIES AND SHORT FILMS

2014
The Salt of the Earth
Cathedrals of Culture (a 3D film project)

2012
Notes from a Day in the Life of an Architect (Peter Zumthor at work)

2010
If Buildings Could Talk (3D)

2008
PERSON TO PERSON: “8”

2007
War in Peace Los Invisibles: Invisible Crimes

2002
Ten Minutes Older: Twelve Miles to Trona

1998
Willie Nelson at the Teatro

1995
Lumière and Company

1992
Arisha, the Bear and the Stone Ring

1989
Notebook on Cities and Clothes

1985
Tokyo-Ga

1982
Reverse Angle Chambre 666

1980
Lightning Over Water

1974
Aus der Familie der Panzerechsen / Die Insel

1969
Alabama: 2000 Light Years from Home 3 American LP’s

1968
Silver City
Polizeifilm

1967
Schauplätze Same Player Shoots Again

 

SELECT PUBLICATIONS

2017
Instant Stories, Schirmer/Mosel, Munich, DE

2015
4 Real & True 2. Wim Wenders. Landscapes. Photographs., Schirmer/Mosel, Munich, DE
Die Pixel des Paul Cézanne. Und andere Blicke auf Künstler, Verlag der Autoren, Frankfurt, DE

2013
L.B. Tauris, Inventing Peace: A Dialogue on Perception, London, UK
Wim Wenders, Places, strange and quiet, 2. edition, Hatje Cantz, Ostfildern, DE

2012
Exhibition Catalogue, Munich, Schirmer/Mosel, Pina. The Film and the Dancers

2011
Matt Watkins ed., Places, strange and quiet, Hatje Cantz, Ostfildern, DE

2009
Exhibition Catalogue, Journey to Onomichi, Schirmer/Mosel, Munich, DE

2005
Daniel Bickermann ed., A Sense of Place, Verlag der Autoren, Frankfurt, DE

2001
Exhibition Catalogue, Pictures from the Surface of the Earth, Schirmer/Mosel, Munich, DE
On Film, Faber & Faber, London, UK

2000
The Heart is a Sleeping Beauty, The Million Dollar Hotel - A Film Book, Schirmer/Mosel, Munich, DE
Buena Vista Social Club, The Companion Book to the Film, Thames & Hudson, London, UK
My Time with Antonioni, The Diary of an Extraordinary Experience, Faber & Faber, London, UK

1999
Buena Vista Social Club (Companion Book to the Film), Schirmer/Mosel, Munich, DE

1997
The Act of Seeing, Faber & Faber, London, UK; Faber Inc., US

1996
Wim Wenders: Photos, Goethe Institut, Munich, DE; Edition Braus, Heidelberg, DE

1995
Wim Wenders, My Time with Antonioni, The Diary of an Extraordinary Experience, Edizioni Socrates, Rome, IT; Verlag Autoren, Frankfurt am Main, DE

1993
Once, Edizioni Socrates, Rome, IT

1994
Once, Verlag der Autoren, Frankfurt am Main, DE; L’Arche Editeur, Paris, FR (1994/2008); Parco co., Tokyo, JP; Schirmer/Mosel, Munich, DE (2001/2005/2010)

1993
Electronic Paintings, Edizioni Socrates, Rome, IT

1992
The Act of Seeing, Verlag der Autoren, Frankfurt am Main, DE; Ubulibri, Milan, IT
Emotion Pictures, Faber & Faber, London, UK; Faber Inc., US

1991
The Logic of Images, Raevens Sorte Bibliotek, CopenhageN, DK; Bardon Chinese Media Agency, Taiwan, CN
The Logic of Images, Faber & Faber, London, UK; Faber Inc., US

1989
Emotion Pictures, Edicoes 70, Lisbon, PT

1988
Michael Töteberg ed., The Logic of Images, Verlag der Autoren, Frankfurt am Main, DE
Written in the West, Editoriale Jaca Book, Milan, IT

1987
Written in the West, Schirmer/Mosel, Munich, DE

1986
Emotion Pictures, Verlag der Autoren, Frankfurt am Main, DE
Tokyo-Ga, Galrev – Verlag, Berlin, DE

1985
Tokyo-Ga, Verlag der Autoren, Frankfurt am Main, DE

 

SELECT ARTICLES AND REVIEWS

2013
N.Farré, “Wim Wenders: “La fotografía es más sincera y auténtica que el cine”, elPeriódico.com, 11 October

2012
O.Sviblova,”Wim Wenders by Olga Sviblova”, Andy Warhol”s Interview, April
“Exhibition of photographs by filmmaker and artist Wim Wenders opens at Deichtorhallen”, Art Daily, 20 April
T.Jördens,“Weltenfinder Wenders”, Märkische Orderzeitung, 18 April
N.Büsing and H.Klaas,“Einsamer Bildersucher”, Segeberger Zeitung, 17 April
V.Corsten,“Morbide Schonheit, Pathos und Melancholie: Wenders bleibt Wenders”, Frankfurther
Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung, 15 April
W.Winkler,“Die Signatur des Schönen”, Süddeutsche Zeitung, 14 April
B.G.Gardner,“Erz ählte Landschaften”, Welt Hamburg, 14 April

2011
R. Hastings, “Wim Wenders” one-second wonders”, The Independent, 30 November
A. Chinault, “Wim Wenders” “Pina” Among Nominees for European Film Awards” Best Documentary”,  IndieWire, 18 October
P. Mason, “Wim Wenders”, Idle Scrawl, bbc.co.uk/blogs/newsnight/paulmason, 19 April

2003
V. Goldberg, “Art; Wim Wenders and the Landscape of Desire” The New York Times, 20 November
“Wim Wenders: Pictures from the Surface of the Earth”, Art Newspaper No. 135, April

 

SELECT PUBLIC AND CORPORATE COLLECTIONS 

Neuberger Berman, London, UK
National Gallery of Scotland, Edinburgh, UK
Collection of the German Republic, Berlin, DE
O.R.S Art Collection, Tel Aviv, IL
Aarhus Kunstmuseum, Aarhus, DK
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, US
Stiftung Museum Kunstpalast, Düsseldorf, DE

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