An International Art Collaboration In Light Of The Recent Art Burnings At UCT


1 Wolf Werdigier out of the FurnaceCelebrating the artist’s voice, freedom of expression and healing the past through the work, ideas and conscious intervention created by artists Willie Bester and Wolf Werdigier through their unique and exciting, transcultural collaboration.

The Melrose Gallery is pleased to invite you to the opening of the exhibition: `Out of the Furnace’ which is the culmination of months of collaboration between two celebrated contemporary artists and thinkers.

The combustive creative journey of these two renowned artists and social justice activists represents a deeply immersive and reflective process which has resulted in a powerful body of new and older works that is both triumphant and challenging, topical and celebratory.

The exhibition represents a galvanizing process, a cleansing through fire across generations, and within the cultures, both artists embody, while not forgetting the harm inflicted.

For architect and artist Wolf Werdigier there is an important need to confront historic injustices inflicted upon his Jewish ancestors, and equally, acclaimed artist Willie Bester pulls from the fire the need to never forget or allow the dehumanization and silencing of Black South Africans across the spectrum as experienced during apartheid.

‘We are excited to present this critical body of work produced by artists Willie Bester and Wolf Werdigier, the result of their trans-personal and creative exploration of the most critical rights and freedoms afforded us, and the eradication of their violation’, says Craig Mark, the gallery director.

This important dialogue between the artists across cultures, faiths and personal ideologies to find confluence through shared expression was undertaken with a deep sense of striving and truth, with trust, toward their creative articulation.


7 Sculptures Wolf Werdigier out of the FurnaceTo Silence Is Not to Destroy

The Melrose Gallery is proud to present this compelling creative and intellectual intervention and journey beautifully curated as a journey linking seemingly disparate experiences of past silencing and trauma through the representation of their confluence and harmony within difference, by curator Beathur Mgoza Baker - a critical discourse entered into and represented by both artists across space, through time and the invocation of memory and healing.

Reflecting on the narrative thread and underlying themes at play in the exhibition, curator Beathur Mgoza Baker says: ‘Artists are important agents for conscientising and moving us from a place of complacency, inaction and distance, toward connection, and the desire to take action for impact.

The exhibition works with the urgency in the work to invoke memory and to release trauma while upholding truth and proclaiming rights, freedoms and our shared humanity.

History has repeatedly shown us why it is important to act and speak out against injustice and toward the understanding that to silence is not to destroy, truth and justice should ultimately prevail. Artists are vital to this striving toward agency and justice, and this conversation is current, vital and beautifully conceived by artist Willie Bester and Wolf Werdigier through their joint and individual works. It is a melding of their truths and personal histories and journeys - out of the furnace and into the light’.


A Journey Through Art, Across Cultures & Time Toward Healing & Catharsis

Artists Willie Bester and Wolf Werdigier have a deep friendship that is tangible in the assembled presentation of their works. Each was deeply drawn to the other because of their outlook, personal ideology and professional expression almost naturally.

For several months now been engaged in a deeply personal and reflective creative journey and shared process toward making art and finding a language and shared expression – an alchemy of mind, artistic craft and spirit toward producing their critical and exciting new body of work for this joint exhibition.

3 Wolf Werdigier out of the FurnaceBoth have navigated excruciating encounters in their history and lives, standing at the centre of the symbolic furnace for what they believe in. The resulting artworks in the exhibition, as a result, come from a process of creation that is deeply personal, immersive and intimate.

Each artist contributes to the shared journey of making, interrogating and discarding loss by invoking memory toward healing. In reflecting on the creative process and the journey toward realizing their works for the exhibition the artists excitedly reflect on the learning, sharing and mutual support they experienced and were able to give.

The artworks in the exhibition represent a conversation realized through sculpture, installation and painting and reflect important personal and political themes for both artists with a tangible intimacy and urgency. The works poignantly explore loss, remembrance and the healing power of memory toward overcoming personal and historical trauma, and the triumph of freedom against all odds. Their collaborative process mirrors the kind of collective exploration of justice and truth we are called on to undertake as a society toward individual and collective healing.

Willie Bester

For artist Willie Bester there can be no personal freedom or the freedom of expression without political freedom and fundamental rights and dignity for all. The distinguished artist and long-standing political, social justice and environmental activist has successfully used his profile as a celebrated international artist to create agency, awareness and access through art that stimulates change and sets critical conversations in motion through his work.

Through his work, he transforms matter from the materials in the form of, found and discarded objects into life-infused, three-dimensional sculptures and installation works that convey his passion and convictions uniquely and with an urgency that has seen him become a fearless voice of the historically silenced and earned him presidential honours and international acclaim.

One of the most important voices in contemporary South African art he has created an impressive body of work over time which resides in the key museum and private collections, and in a career spanning over twenty-five years as a sculptor and visual artist, and he has become a name synonymous with activism and political agency. He has been and continues to be the voice of the disposed in Africa.

9 Sculptures Wolf Werdigier out of the FurnaceWolf Werdigier

Artist Wolf Werdigier studied architecture in Vienna and London as well as painting and design with Jaap Bakema, Xenia Hausner, Jakobo Borges, Herman Nietsch and Markus Lupertz. His works include urban designs, installations and city interventions. He is also the visiting professor at Pratt Institute of New York and the University of Stuttgart. Wolf works in the area of interactive art and paintings with exhibitions held in Vienna, Barcelona and Vieussan, France, New York, Jerusalem, Philadelphia and Venice. Since 2003 he has been the director and is also the founder of the International Summer Academy of Fine Arts and Media in Venice. He is also the co-founder and artist of the Produzentengalerie Wien.

Forward Ever, Backward Never!

In drawing together two artists that traverse difference and discrimination the exhibition solidifies the need to use art as a tool for creating tolerance and allowing free expression. It also raises the important longer-term question around how we continue our struggle for autonomy, freedom of expression and social justice to enshrine these rights for our artistic and creative voices in society, as securely as our rights as citizens are meant to be enshrined in our country’s constitution within the framework of democracy.

Reflecting on the importance of the work produced through this collaboration curator Beathur Mgoza Baker says: `Respect for artists and their voices is deeply symbolic of the balance and tolerance in our society. Wolf and Willie have swung open the door of history’s furnace to remind us. We need to pick up this thread continually and keep it alive so we never forget or allow history to repeat itself. How else do we observe the right to freedom of expression and curtail censorship social, political and economic injustice in a post-democratic South Africa?’.

The Melrose Gallery will facilitate a forum for collective reflection, discussion and exploration of how we address the importance of the artist’s voice and freedom of expression in the face of increasingly overt attempts at silencing and containing it.

On March 14th we will host an event that enables the space for artists, thinkers, societal leaders and community to engage in debate and discussion.


The Exhibition & Dialogue

The Artists: Willie Bester and Wolf Werdigier
Curator: Beathur Mgoza Baker
The Venue: The Melrose Gallery, 10 The High Street, Melrose Arch
The Opening: 13 March at 6:30 pm. To be opened by Albie Sachs
The Dialogues & Walkabout: 14 March from 5:30 pm to 7 pm.
The Exhibition: Runs from 14 March to 14 April 2019







40 United Nations Vienna Wolf Werdigier and Willie Bester 2019     ÖB Pretoria Austrian Embassy Wolf Werdigier and Willie Bester 2019



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The Heads

The Heads 5s


Working together with Willie Bester, Cape Town, South Africa, inspired me to link more strongly the language of art of European Cubism with the tradition of African sculpture, as well as Freud's psychoanalysis.

This dialogue between Africa and Europe is so faszinating, that ever new languages of art develop.

"The Heads" I designed this year are a result of this dialogue. 

The Heads 1    The Heads 6

The Heads 2      The Heads 3

 The Heads 4     The Heads 7    The Heads 8   The Heads 9

  The Heads 10    The Heads 11 


love sick

love sick wolf werdigier


Samstag, den 5. Dezember 2015
Dr. Regina Hofer, Mag. Greta Mikula und Dr. Bernd Günther

In Ergänzung zu den Skulpturen, die in den Räumlichkeiten der Produzentengalerie Wien in der Radetzkystraße 4, 1030 Wien gezeigt werden, sind in der Ausstellung Marc Aurel Straße 10, 1010 Wien am Samstag, den 5. Dezember 2015 von 18.00 bis 21.00 Uhr Bilder von Wolf Werdigier zu sehen, kuratiert von Dr. Regina Hofer, Mag. Greta Mikula und Dr. Bernd Günther.


Diese Bilder-Ausstellung polarisiert das Thema „love sick“ zwischen den beiden Extremen:
Intimität unter Fremden, wie etwa im Film „Intimacy“ von Patrice Chéreau gezeigt und andererseits der Definition der erwachsenen Liebe nach Sigmund Freud, die sich auf die gesamte Person bezieht und nicht auf Partialobjekte.

Im Film von Patrice Chéreau besucht Claire den Barkeeper Jay jeden Mittwoch in seiner Wohnung um Sex mit ihm zu haben ohne darüber hinaus voneinander zu wissen.
Demgegenüber beschreibt Sigmund Freud die reife Liebe, die sich auf die gesamte Persönlichkeit bezieht zum Unterschied von der Liebe, die sich nur auf Partialobjekte bezieht, wie zum Beispiel den Schuhfetischisten.

Diese beiden kontroversiellen Standpunkte sind der Ausgangspunkt für die Auswahl der Bilder, die in dieser Ausstellung zu sehen sind. Dr. Regina Hofer und Dr. Bernd Günther sind beide Psychoanalytiker, demgegenüber ist Mag. Greta Mikula ist nicht nur Künstlerin, sondern auch Dolmetscherin und hatte auch in der Gestaltung dieser Ausstellung diese Rolle.

Wir dürfen uns jetzt schon auf eine lebhafte Diskussion am Samstag, den 5. Dezember freuen.



Robert Brooks Gisela de Villier featuring Wolf werdigier



Samstag, den 12. Dezember : Gisela De Villier und Robert Brooks

Am Samstag, den 12. Dezember findet innerhalb der gleichen Ausstellung die Interpretation der Bilder durch Arien und Lieder gesungen von Gisela De Villier und Robert Brooks aus Pretoria, Südafrika satt: Tangos von Carlos Gardel und Melodien von Leonard Bernstein.






julian schutting gemalt von wolf werdigier w


Samstag, den 19. Dezember : Julian Schutting

Am Samstag, den 19. Dezember wird die gleiche Ausstellung interpretiert von Texten des Dichters und Autors Julian Schutting: Texte aus „Liebe eines Dichters“ und „Zur Mitternacht“

Alle Veranstaltungen beginnen um 19.00 Uhr mit einer Führung durch die Ausstellung. Wir bitten um pünktliches Erscheinen damit die Vortragenden nicht unterbrochen werden.

Ich freue mich auf ein Wiedersehen mit spannenden Diskussionen!

Herzliche Grüße,
Wolf Werdigier


Parallel Vienna 2017

Produzentengalerie Wien Room 508
19. - 24. September 2017


„Die Inszenierung des  Zufalls“


Begonnen hat dieses Ausstellungsprojekt mit der Idee, die Cut-Up Methode, wie sie von  William Burroughs in der Literatur angewendet wurde, in der Malerei  einzusetzen, im Bestreben, den Prozess des gedanklichen Assoziierens abzubilden.
Es zeigte sich, dass dies möglich ist, indem jene zwei Bildelemente, die die miteinander assoziierten Gedanken abbilden, miteinander in Beziehung gebracht werden.


zufall parallel wolf werdigier 2017

Die Treppe des Eros

Hieraus kam der Anstoss, den Zufall programmatisch als Erweiterung der Malerei einzusetzen.
Ein gemaltes Bild hat immer etwas Hermetisches an sich. Wenn es gelingt, im Ablauf der Malerei den Zufall einzubinden, ist es wie ein Akt der Befreiung.
Für Marcel Duchamp war  „der Zufall die einzige Möglichkeit, sich der Kontrolle des rationalen Denkens zu entziehen…
….sodass wir das auszudrücken im Stande sind, was einzigartig und zugleich irrational in uns ist.“



zufall parallel 1 wolf werdigier 2017





Ich ist ein anderer

Acryl auf Karton

Nicht zuletzt sind auch jene Skizzen und Kritzeleien, die im Alltag nebenbei  entstehen, mehr Zufall, als Intention.
Auch diese werden Teil der Ausstellung sein. Überraschende Zufälle werden sich auch während der Ausstellung für die Besucher ereignen:
Anlass für weitere Skizzen, die ebenfalls an die Wände kommen.






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Du kannst dich auf deinen Lorbeeren Ausruhen


All das auf der Kunstmesse "Parallel Vienna“ in 1030 Wien Schnirchgasse 9A  

Raum 508 im 5. Stock

Ich selbst werde anwesend sein:
Dienstag 19. Sept.:     13.00 - 16.00 und 18.00 - 22.00
Mittwoch 20. Sept.:     18.00 - 22.00
Donnerstag 21. Sept.:    16.00 - 20.00
Freitag 22. Sept.:    17.00 - 20.00
Samstag 23. Sept.:     14.00 - 19.00
Sonntag 24. Sept.:    11.00 - 14.00 und 17.00 - 19.00




Room 508
19. - 24. September 2017

Schnirchgasse 9A
1030 Vienna



David Bowie










David Bowie

Acryl & Öl auf Leinwand












ich ist eine andere Parallel Vienna Wolf werdigier







Ich ist eine andere

Acryl auf Karton










der zufall auf der Parallel Preview Wolf Werdigier










Acryl & Öl auf Leinwand










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Späte Stunde

Öl auf Leinwand

















Der verlorene Triumph

Mixed Media
Maße variabel