Uwe Pfaff was born in Denmark in 1947. After his teen years in Germany he travelled to South Africa, in 1970, where he pursued a series of diverse jobs. His early days as apprentice fitter-and-turner, then technical draughtsman, among others, honed a hands-on approach long before his formal art school training. An appreciation of engineering precision became the foundation for the rendering of his artistic genius.
Sculpting a reputation
In 1975, Uwe studied Painting and Sculpture at the Cape Town Art Centre, holding his first solo exhibition within a year. He then enrolled for classes in Sculpture and Etching at the Ruth Prowse School of Art and Design, presenting a body of work at the Cape Town Biennale in 1979.
Although prolific in artistic output and highly publicised due to the exposure of his solo and combined exhibitions, Uwe Pfaff captured the media eye through his contribution to the Cape Town Triennial in 1982.
Creative originality – The Pfaff signature
From winning the first prize in South Africa’s Style magazine national competition (for a designer ceramic tea set), to being a finalist in the prestigious 2004 Brett Kebble Art Awards, Uwe Pfaff has become recognised internationally for his artistic originality with works gracing private and corporate collections alike.
A playful appeal
Galleries delight in the inventive ingenuity of Pfaff’s works, which may manifest one day as whimsical cartoon-dog metallic coasters, and the next as massive room dividers in the shape of metal heads.
While critics strain their adjectives to describe his spirit-made metal creations, Dream Circus Master Pfaff introduces further notes into the ever-shifting equation that will never become formulaic: The concept of his steel singing heads, for example, whereby the sculpture is not simply an inert conversation piece, but comes alive with tonal joy when struck. Art that you can’t beat, because you can!
Invisible worlds made visible
His brave vision, untainted by conformity to current fads and fashion, has resulted in Uwe obtaining commissions from Australia, England and Europe. The amalgamation of the elemental with the emotional ensures longevity to unique works that can be shared and cherished by both the playful and serious sides of any audience.
The Pfaff phenomenon is the realisation and expression of the magic in the mundane, everyday world. Making the invisible visible is his hallmark, evoking the eternal moods and play of the subconscious.
Uwe was born in 1947 in refugee camp in Denmark. Where he spend the first 4 years of his life.
His mother moved with him to Ravensburg in the south of Germany where he grew up. At the age of 14 he began an apprentiship as a fitter and turner and became a design draftsman after that, during this time he did technical studies and took courses in philosophy, literature, english and history in evening classes. During this period of his life he was a champion swimmer in the local swimming club, spend most of his spare time in coffeehouses playing chess, analysing Sigmund Freud with his friends, growing his hair and planning to bring down the government. These were the 60ties
After his compulsory stint in the army he planned a 2-year trip round the world to find himself. south Africa was his first and last stop .after working in the goldmines on the reef prospecting for semiprecious stones in Nambibia and inventing a semiautomatic hairwashing machine he moved to cape town.
Unable to find work in his technical profession he sold shirts and ties door to door and then encyclopaedia Britannica which honed his sales and people skills. He then began working in the air conditioning industry studying art in evening classes.
After one year of learning how to paint he thought he was ready to show his work and he did. Unhappy with the sales he gave up his short career and continued with evening classes of graphic design and sculpture at the Ruth Prowse school of art.
When his first etching and first sculpture are accepted for the cape town biennale he new his time had come.
Attempts to pursue his art career full time failed due a poor economy, unrests, marriage and children to and he scaled down earning his living working as a design draughtsman and contracts engineer in the air conditioning industry, selling south African cardboard coffins in Europa, establishing HIP HOP backpackers in cape town running tours with his bizzy buzzy bus. Restoring and selling antiques while continuing honing his artistic skills and exhibiting sporadically,
In the year 2000 he decided it was time and went for art full time. And never looked back.