Life and work
Uwe Wittwer is an autodidact. Born 1954 in Zurich where he went to school, he originally trained as a social worker (Bern, 1974–1977). In 1979 he rented his first studio. His early works were colourful abstract expressive oil paintings. The change towards figurative painting took place during the mid 80s. His first solo exhibition was at Galerie Walcheturm, Zurich in 1983. In 1989 he spent time in London on a studio grant (Binz 39 Foundation, Zurich). In 1994 he was at the Cité international des arts in Paris for a year on a grant by the Canton Zurich. In the same year, he received the Swiss federal scholarship for the arts. 1989 solo exhibition at Helmhaus Zurich, the first time his digitally edited photographs were shown. Since then, digitally manipulated images are part of his work. He works with images downloaded from the internet.
'Uwe Wittwer is a painter with a restricted, a ritualised vocabulary'; his motifs consist of four main subjects: landscapes, cities, still lifes and portraits, - later condensed into three main themes: idyll, referential work and the theme of violence.
The works of reference concentrate primarily on interiors and still lifes of Dutch Masters, such as Pieter De Hooch or Willem Kalf. The theme of violence covers subjects like 'free time' of American soldiers in the Vietnam war, ruins of bombed out cities or scorched family homes.
Uwe Wittwer's work is underlined by 'the question of what a picture is' and the question how memory affects images.
Uwe Wittwer was guest tutor at the Witten/Herdecke University, Germany (1998–2000) and at the Zeppelin University, Friedrichshafen, Germany (2010)
In 2008 he was voted into The 50 most important artists of Switzerland List by Bilanz Magazine
Solo exhibitions include Kunsthalle Bern, CH (1991); Museum Schloss Morsbroich, Kunstverein Leverkusen, GER (1997); Helmhaus Zurich, CH (1998); University Art Gallery, Pittsburgh PA, USA (2000); Kunstmuseum Solothurn, CH (2005); Ludwig Forum für Internationale Kunst, Aachen, GER (2005); Haunch of Venison, Zurich (2007); Cohan and Leslie, New York (2008); Nolan Judin, Berlin (2009); Fred Jahn, Munich (2009); Haunch of Venison, London (2009); Lullin + Ferrari, Zurich (2010); Haunch of Venison, London
Group exhibitions include Tatort London, Galerie Schübbe, Düsseldorf, GER (1996); Die Schärfe der Unschärfe, Kunstmuseum Solothurn (1998); Swiss Contemporary Art, Sungkok Art Museum, Seoul (1998); Schafft Land!, Stadtmuseum Siegburg, GER (2000); L'Imagine ritrovata Museo cantonale d'Arte, Lugano, CH (2002); Big is beautiful Musée d'art et d'histoire de la Ville de Neuchâtel, CH (2002); Flower Myth - van Gogh to Jeff Koons, Fondation Beyeler, Basel, CH (2005); Reprocessing Reality, P.S.1 MoMA, New York (2006); Fade Away and Radiate, Cohan and Leslie Gallery, New York (2007); Mythologies, Haunch of Venison Burlington Gardens, London (2009); Courtauld Institute of Art, London (2010); Watercolour, Tate Britain, London (2011)