Uwe Pfaff (1947-)

Artwork by Uwe Pfaff



Nickel Plated Stainless Steel


30cm x 20 cm

Uwe Pfaff has immortalized the more difficult elements of the material world through his dream creations in metal, Perspex, glass, wood and ceramic

Master of many diverse media, ranging from wood sculptures,  oil painting to Nickel plated steel worlds, Uwe’s work has had impressive media coverage, both locally and internationally.

The time locked Coelacanth, Space travel, inner Earth beings, the difficult yet always erotic dichotomy between men and women, have all had their exhibition in the malleable mediums in which Uwe expresses his most irrepressible self.

Heavy metal entwines with the filigree of dreams in the work that teases the onlooker with its unavoidable presence, beautifully tactile yet whispering of mischief driven philosophy.

Uwe Pfaff was born in 1947 in Rye, Denmark and grew up in Germany, and arrived in South Africa in 19 70.

After a year spent in Klerksdorp he moved to Cape Town where he had a succession of diverse jobs. In 1975 Uwe took painting and sculpture classes at the Cape Town Art Centre, a year later holding his first solo exhibition. Uwe then took sculpture and etching classes at the Ruth Prowse School of Art and Design. In 1979 he presented his work, in the forms of sculpture and etchings at the Cape Town Biennale.

Prolific and highly publicized, Uwe caught the media eye from many angles for over a decade with solo and combined exhibitions, and by his contribution to the Cape Town Triennial 1982.

If creative survival depends upon the gift of reinvention, then Uwe is a blessed being whose history has seen the skin- shed from the apprenticeship as a fitter-and-turner, the morph beyond technical draughting and the temporarily sabbatical as a dutiful father and conscienscious husband.

As a finalist in the prestigious 2004 Brett Kebble Art Awards, Pfaff  proved that time need not leave a rust layer on the pure metal of creativity. Many artists become expert at a tangent of their creativity, but the formula that works becomes the Monkey Paw in the Bottle of their own growth.

Uwe Pfaff will never become creatively anorexic . His ideas , dream driven figures, dancing animals and deep- sleep fish will not let him rest, clambering out of the stainless steel and the screen prints.

From the winning of the first prize in Style magazine’s national competition for a ceramic tea set, to being part of Corporate Collections and the focal point of numerous exhibitions nationwide, Pfaff is rapidly becoming recognized  internationally as a source of original phenomena.

Whilst critics strain the adjectives to describe the spirit made metal creations ,the Circus Master Pfaff introduces further images into the ever shifting equation that will never become  formulaic The concept of the steel singing heads, whereby the sculpture is not simply an inert conversation piece, but can comes alive with tonal joy when struck.

Art that you can  beat. Metal that can sing , kid with a hammer- friendly and bursting with potential sonic arias, The Pfaff phenomenon is the realization of the unconscious life in the everyday. Where else can the “:Eve Special “ Angel – tray stand, serve as a functional art piece in the home?

Who else but Pfaff, would cast the Circumnavigator, the metal wall hanging traveler from the outer limits of an inner world, to preside above a dinner party ?

Canny local galleries such as VEO, and Artspace Johannesburg, delight in the inventive ingenuity of the work, which may manifest as steel cartoon- dog drink coasters one day, and as massive room dividers in the shape of an upright metal head, the next.

His brave vision untainted by conformity to current fashion, has resulted in Uwe obtaining commissions from Australia, England and Europe.

It is with humility that Uwe states, “ I dare say I do dream, I can not wait to hit  the pillow every night, it is almost like going overseas or into space. Other worlds await me, and waking up I remain attached to the dream it like chewing gum to gums.”

The amalgamation of the elemental with the emotional, ensures longevity to a work that can be shared and cherished by both the playful and serious aspects of any audience.