Uwe Pfaff was born in Rye, Denmark in 1947, grew up in Ravensburg, Germany and immigrated to South Africa in 1970. From 1970-1979 he worked as a mechanical design draughtsman. During that time he studied painting, graphics and sculpture part-time. Pfaff worked in ceramic and wood and has also produced drawings, paintings and silkscreens. His recent works are all made by cutting steel with a cutting torch, which leaves in its path a lacy configuration of glyphs, images and other designs. In this way, the entrail-like convulsions inside a head reveal the upright figure of a man, while the wandering doodles inside a figure evoke a brains complex surface. The line between negative and positive, figure and ground or night and day is blurred in works where the spaces between are as important as the forms they border. At the threshold of sleep and waking consciousness, we find, in equal parts, murky myths of evolution, fantastic speculation and pure visual delight.
Pfaff’s enquiry is as much light-hearted curiosity as it is a serious investigation, and it contains the elements of both a sacred text and a damn good read. In addition to many private collections in South Africa, Europe and the USA Pfaff’s work can be found in the Sanlam Collection, SASOL Collection, RMB Collection, Friends of the South African National Gallery and Durban Art Gallery’s collection.