Wolfgang Widmoser born 1945 in Munich, is a painter living in Bali who applies classical European techniques to a pushed vision of reality. As a young man he found himself in the troubled intellectual european scenery of what is called now the students movement.
To study art, Wolfgang Widmoser made a choice that seemed odd at the time. He went to Vienna where Ernst Fuchs resided as a living antithesis to the reductionist and politicised main stream art in Germany. Fuchs represented a school of indulgent sumptuous and luxurious anarchy, bourgeois and nihilistic in one.That was a very Austrian tradition. Fuchs asked his students to learn painting in the manner of the Italian masters, using oil, firnis and shellack as they did. Here Wolfgang learned about values, shadows and lights. It was on Fuch’s 1973 seminar that he met fellow artist and student Philip Rubinov Jacobson as well as De Es Schwertberger who was assisting Fuchs at the time.
Fuch’s student was later sent for some weeks to Cadaques in Spain to study with Salvador Dali, he being also a painter who knew his craft. But Wolfgang says that Dali didn’t really understand the full power of paint glazes.
Years of travel and searching followed.Wolfgang Widmoser after some adventurous excursions on which he and his friends tried to ambush the Hamburg Art Academy with colour bombs walked away in a very classical and German way. He went south. Going to Italy was a tradition followed since J.W Goethe,s time. To discover the light and the lightness of being in the land of lemons has become a must for poets and painters.Wolfgang stopped over in Switzerland. Here he painted the structure of rocks, mountain slopes, walls of conifers with a stubbornness that might be explained by his Bavarian roots. He painted the window sill of his lodgings a hundred times over.
Wolfgang consistently painted series of still life works until he discovered the photos of Papuan faces that inspired him to obsession. These paintings were created in a huge format to show the human faces as landscapes. To alienate the image from its model, Wolfgang uses all kinds of mirrors, convex or concave. Very soon collectors and galleries became aware of the demanding quality of Wolfgang’s work. Wolfgang refers to it as “Fantastic Realism”. He exhibited in Munich, Zurich, Milan, Tokyo and Hong Kong and some collectors commissioned wall paintings, in the fresco style, for their villas and lofts. Also he became interested in constructing futuristic homes and spaces with bamboo, influenced by the architect Frei Otto.
Wolfgang Widmoser lives and works on the outskirts of Ubud on Bali.
- Stefan Reisner on Wolfgang for Stern Magazine 2004