Wim Wenders
Filmmaker / Photographer

Acclaimed director Wim Wenders began his career as an artist and has become widely known for his photographs and paintings, along with his award-winning documentaries and films. Born in 1945 in Düsseldorf, Wenders originally studied medicine and philosophy in college before dropping out to pursue painting in Paris during the 1960s. There, he worked as an engraver at Johnny Friedlander and experimented with collage, watercolor, ink drawing, and engraving. He directed his first feature film, Summer in the City, in 1970, after which he achieved widespread recognition for films such as Paris, Texas (1984) and Wings of Desire (1987), as well as documentaries including Buena Vista Social Club (1999) and, later, Pina (2011).

Wenders began more frequently exhibiting his photographs in the early 1980s. He often takes photographs while traveling and scouting locations for films, intertwining his film and art practices for audiences. His photographic series Written in the West grew out of his search for sites for Paris, Texas, specifically those that epitomize the American West; in search of such settings, Wenders traveled throughout New Mexico, Arizona, and Texas. Similarly, for Buena Vista Social Club, he shot a book-length series of photographs of the film’s musicians, along with scenes from Havana city life. For Until the End of the World, meanwhile, Wenders created a series of “electronic paintings” to be used in the film, in which images can be sent to the brain without actual sight. The paintings were put on high-definition tape and digitally re-rendered with color and pixelating effects.

Wenders’s work has been shown at galleries and institutions around the world, including the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Denmark, and the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris.