Wolfgang Stiller has been working as an artist for almost 40 years. He faced the fall of the Berlin Wall and the prime of popular culture.
Wolfgang Stiller has been working as an artist for almost 40 years. He faced the fall of the Berlin Wall and the prime of popular culture in New York. In 1981 he started studying Communication Design in GHS Wuppertal in Germany, however, he was focusing on painting and installation works. He later established his own studio, which once was an old factory loft, as he had a huge affinity for fine art. Wolfgang’s artistic practice started to evolve rapidly and soon a friend of his brought the gallery owner, where he worked, to the artist’s studio. The gallery owner was impressed with Wofgang’s ideas and later he brought a well-known painter and professor of the prestigious Art academy "Kunstakademie Düsseldorf". Several months later Wolfgang was accepted into this academy where he continued to pursue his artistic path and develop his talent and style.
Throughout his career, Wolfgang Stiller worked and traveled across many countries. Traveling is very important to him because it gives the artist a lot of experience and exposure to different cultures and therefore it has been very important in developing his unique oeuvre. The artist is addressing a strong societal commentary through the subject matter he chooses, however, the seriousness of it is always balanced out with playfulness.
The “Matchstickmen” is arguably the most recognizable series of Wolfgang Stiller’s sculptures. He started to make this series in China, which was an extremely successful and artistically prolific time for Wolfgang. Each sculpture is a matchstick with a burnt head. In German “Streichholzkopf” has a literal meaning of an actual “head”, which highlights the beauty of a comparison between a matchstick and a human burnout. Many people believe that the burnt matchstick heads represent the “Burnout Syndrome”, a condition that occurs after prolonged occupation stress, which is characterized by depersonalization, exhaustion, and reduced belief in one’s professional abilities. However, the artist prefers to leave their meaning open-ended as he strongly believes that art should leave room for one’s own thinking and imagination.
In the artist's opinion the human head, without a body, is a fascinating subject for exploration, because it is the center of a human psyche and personality and for him the best way to reflect upon this subject is art. Wolfgang strongly believes in the power of craftsmanship and that it is an essential part of an artistic journey. He elaborates the meaning of each artwork through the amount of physical work he puts into it and the choice of material. In order to find the final form for “The Matchstickmen”, it took him many years. Lately, he made Matchstick Men in bronze and he used different patinas to achieve a unique idea in each object.
The artist has received his education in Kunstakademie Düsseldorf Fine Art Academy and multiple awards. He has had more than 140 solo and group exhibitions and his artworks are presented in the international museum collections in Wuhan Museum of Fine Art, Wuhan (China); Pfalzgalerie Kaiserslautern (Germany); Museum K.E.Osthaus Museum, Hagen (Germany); Public collection of Land Hessen (Germany); Museum Bochum (Germany).