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Gottfried Helnwein, "Beautiful Victim", watercolor, 1974
Gottfried Helnwein
Born October 8, 1948(1948-10-08)
Vienna, Austria
Nationality Irish
Field painting, photography, installation art
Training Academy of Fine Arts Vienna
Movement Hyperrealism, Installation art, Performance art
Works "Ninth November Night" (1988),
Epiphany I (Adoration of the Magi) (1996)

Gottfried Helnwein (born October 8, 1948 in Vienna) is an Austrian-Irish fine artist, painter, photographer, installation and performance artist.

Contents

Work

Helnwein studied at the University of Visual Art in Vienna (German: Akademie der Bildenden Künste, Wien). He was awarded the Master-class prize (Meisterschulpreis) of the University of Visual Art, Vienna, the Kardinal-König prize and the Theodor-Körner prize.

He has worked as a painter, draftsman, photographer, muralist, sculptor, installation- and performance artist, using a wide variety of techniques and media.

His early work consists mainly of hyper-realistic watercolors, depicting wounded children, as well as performances - often with children - in public spaces. Helnwein is concerned primarily with psychological and sociological anxiety, historical issues and political topics. As a result of this, his work is often considered provocative and controversial.

Viennese-born Helnwein is part of a tradition going back to the 18th century, to which Messerschmidt's grimacing sculptures belong. One sees, too, the common ground of his works with those of Hermann Nitsch and Rudolf Schwarzkogler, two other Viennese, who display their own bodies in the frame of reference of injury, pain, and death. One can also see this fascination for body language goes back to the expressive gesture in the work of Egon Schiele.[1]

Head of a Child

State Russian Museum St. Petersburg, Helnwein's "Head of a Child" ("Kindskopf", 1991, oil and acrylic on canvas, 600 x 400 cm), being installed in the retrospective of Gottfried Helnwein, 1997, (Collection of the Sate Russian Museum St. Petersburg).

A clarity of vision in his subject matter was emerging in Helnwein's art that was to stay consistent throughout his career. His subject matter is the human condition. The metaphor for his art, although it included self-portraits, is dominated by the image of the child, but not the carefree innocent child of popular imagination. Helnwein instead created the profoundly disturbing yet compellingly provocative image of the wounded child. The child scarred physically and the child scarred emotionally from within.[2]

In 2004 The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco organized the first one-person exhibition of Gottfried Helnwein at an American Museum: "The Child, works by Gottfried Helnwein" at the California Palace of the Legion of Honor.[3] The show was seen by almost 130,000 visitors and the San Francisco Chronicle quoted it the most important exhibition of a contemporary artist in 2004. Steven Winn, Chronicle Arts and Culture Critic, wrote: "Helnwein's large format, photo-realist images of children of various demeanors boldly probed the subconscious. Innocence, sexuality, victimization and haunting self-possession surge and flicker in Helnwein's unnerving work".[4]

Harry S.Parker III, Director of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco explained what makes Helnwein's art significant: "For Helnwein, the child is the symbol of innocence, but also of innocence betrayed. In today's world, the malevolent forces of war, poverty, and sexual exploitation and the numbing, predatory influence of modern media assault the virtue of children. Robert Flynn Johnson, the curator in charge, has assembled a thought-provoking selection of Helnwein's works and provided an insightful essay on his art. Helnwein's work concerning the child includes paintings, drawings, and photographs, and it ranges from subtle inscrutability to scenes of stark brutality. Of course, brutal scenes—witness The Massacre of the Innocents—have been important and regularly visited motifs in the history of art. What makes Helnwein's art significant is its ability to make us reflect emotionally and intellectually on the very expressive subjects he chooses. Many people feel that museums should be a refuge in which to experience quiet beauty divorced from the coarseness of the world. This notion sells short the purposes of art, the function of museums, and the intellectual curiosity of the public. The Child: Works by Gottfried Helnwein will inspire and enlighten many; it is also sure to upset some. It is not only the right but the responsibility of the museum to present art that deals with important and sometimes controversial topics in our society".[5]

Comics and trivial art

The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA), 2000, Gottfried Helnwein's "Mouse I" (1995, oil and acrylic on canvas, 210 x 310 cm) in the exhibition "The Darker Side of Playland - Childhood Imagery from the Logan Collection".

Another strong element in his work are comics. Helnwein has sensed the superiority of cartoon life over real life ever since he was a child. A magazine interview brought out an explanation of his obsession with Disney characters. Growing up in dreary, destructed post-war Vienna, the young boy was surrounded by unsmiling people haunted by a recent past they could never speak about. What changed his life was the first German-language Donald Duck comic book that his father brought home one day. Opening the book felt like finally arriving in a world where he belonged:
"...a decent world where one could get flattened by steam-rollers and perforated by bullets without serious harm. A world in which the people still looked proper, with yellow beaks or black knobs instead of noses." (Helnwein[6])[7]

In 2000 the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art presented Helnwein's painting "Mouse I" (1995, oil and acrylic on canvas, 210 cm x 310 cm) at the exhibition The Darker Side of Playland: Childhood Imagery from the Logan Collection.
Alicia Miller commented on Helnwein's work in Artweek: "In 'The Darker Side of Playland', the endearing cuteness of beloved toys and cartoon characters turns menacing and monstrous. Much of the work has the quality of childhood nightmares. In those dreams, long before any adult understanding of the specific pains and evils that live holds, the familiar and comforting objects and images of a child's world are rent with something untoward. For children, not understanding what really to be afraid of, these dreams portend some pain and disturbance lurking into the landscape. Perhaps nothing in the exhibition exemplifies this better than Gottfried Helnwein's 'Mickey'. His portrait of Disney's favorite mouse occupies an entire wall of the gallery; rendered from an oblique angle, his jaunty, ingenuous visage looks somehow sneaky and suspicious. His broad smile, encasing a row of gleaming teeth, seems more a snarl or leer. This is Mickey as Mr. Hyde, his hidden other self now disturbingly revealed. Helnwein's Mickey is painted in shades of gray, as if pictured on an old black-and-white TV set. We are meant to be transported to the flickering edges of our own childhood memories in a time imaginably more blameless, crime-less and guiltless. But Mickey's terrifying demeanor hints of things to come..."[8].

Although Helnwein's work is rooted in the legacy of German expressionism, he has absorbed elements of American pop culture. In the 70s he began to include cartoon characters in his paintings. In several interviews he claimed: "I learned more from Donald Duck than from all the schools that I have ever attended." Commenting on that aspect in Helnwein's work, Julia Pascal wrote in the New Statesman: "His early watercolor Peinlich (Embarrassing)[9]- shows a typical little 1950s girl in a pink dress and carrying a comic book. Her innocent appeal is destroyed by the gash deforming her cheek and lips. It is as if Donald Duck had met Mengele".[10]

Living between Los Angeles and Ireland, Helnwein met and photographed the Rolling Stones in London, and his portrait of John F Kennedy made the front cover of Time magazine on the 20th anniversary of the president's assassination.[11] His Self-portrait as screaming bandaged man, blinded by forks (1982) became the cover of the Scorpions album Blackout. Andy Warhol, Muhammad Ali, William Burroughs[12] and the German industrial metal band Rammstein[13] posed for him; some of his art-works appeared in the cover-booklet of Michael Jackson's History album [14] . Referring to the fall of the Berlin Wall Helnwein created the book Some Facts about Myself, together with Marlene Dietrich.[15] In 2003 he became friends with Marilyn Manson[16] and started a collaboration with him on the multi-media art-project The Golden Age of Grotesque and on several experimental video-projects. Among his widely published works is a spoof of the famous Edward Hopper painting Nighthawks, entitled Boulevard of Broken Dreams. This painting also inspired the Green Day song of the same name[17]

Examining his imagery from the 1970s to the present, one sees influences as diverse as Bosch, Goya, John Heartfield, Beuys and Mickey Mouse, all filtered through a postwar Viennese childhood.[18]

"God of the Sub-humans" (detail, self-portrait, right panel of the Triptych), Gottfried Helnwein, 1986, Photography, Oil and Acrylic on Canvas, Collection Leopold Hoesch Museum, Düren

'Helnwein's oeuvre embraces total antipodes: The trivial alternates with visions of spiritual doom, the divine in the child contrasts with horror-images of child-abuse. But violence remains to be his basic theme, - the physical and the emotional suffering, inflicted by one human being unto another.'[19].

Self portraits

The self-portrait for the artist's blindfolded unbent head covered with blood occurs twice in Helnwein's triptych The Silent Glow of the Avantgarde (1986). The middle panel shows an enlarged reproduction of Caspar David Friedrich's The sea of Ice, a depiction of a catastrophe of 1823/24 which is generally interpreted as a romantic allegory of the force of nature overpowering all human effort . Helnwein compared the "quietly theatrical" ecstatic attitude of his self-portrait with the heroic pose of the figure of the suffering figure of Sebastian and generalizes both to the stigma of the artist in the 20th century, making him a kind of saviour figure. In addition, its poetic title sets the viewer onto the right track. The visual montage of the modern artist as Man of Sorrows with Friedrich's landscape painting projects the dashed hopes of the romantic rebellion into the present, to the protest thinking of modernity, which has become introverted and masochistic, and its crossing of aesthetic boundaries. Is romanticism making a comeback? - No; actually, it had never left modernity. But its rebellion is confining and introverting itself in the "body metaphysics" of contemporary artists to its own flesh and blood. Thus, the comeback of romanticism leads for Helnwein, too, to stressing just one of its partial aspects, the stylizing in the form of a self-portrait of a protest introverted to martyrdom which historically was once linked in a contradictory way with social opposition, rebellion, and utopia.[20].

References to the Holocaust

Gottfried Helnwein, "Epiphany I (Adoration of the Magi)", mixed media on canvas, 1996

Mitchell Waxman wrote 2004, in The Jewish Journal, Los Angeles: "The most powerful images that deal with Nazism and Holocaust themes are by Anselm Kiefer and Helnwein, although, Kiefer's work differs considerably from Helnwein's in his concern with the effect of German aggression on the national psyche and the complexities of German cultural heritage. Kiefer is known for evocative and soulful images of barren German landscapes. But Kiefer and Helnwein's work are both informed by the personal experience of growing up in a post-war German speaking country... William Burroughs said that the American revolution begins in books and music, and political operatives implement the changes after the fact. To this maybe we can add art. And Helnwein's art might have the capacity to instigate change by piercing the veil of political correctness to recapture the primitive gesture inherent in art."[21].

One of the most famous paintings of Helnwein's oeuvre is Epiphany I - Adoration of the Magi, (1996, oil and acrylic on canvas, 210 cm x 333 cm, collection of the Denver Art Museum). It is part of a series of three paintings: Epiphany I, Epiphany II (Adoration of the Shepherds), Epiphany III (Presentation at the Temple), created between 1996 and 1998. In Epiphany I, SS officers surround a mother and child group. To judge by their looks and gestures, they appear to be interested in details such as head, face, back and genitals. The arrangement of the figures clearly relates to motive and iconography of the adoration of the three Magi, such as were common especially in the German, Italian and Dutch 15th century artworks. Julia Pascal wrote about this work in the New Statesman: "This Austrian Catholic Nativity scene has no Magi bearing gifts. Madonna and child are encircled by five respectful Waffen SS officers palpably in awe of the idealised, blonde Virgin. The Christ toddler, who stands on Mary's lap, stares defiantly out of the canvas." Helnwein's baby Jesus is often considered to represent Adolf Hitler.[22].

Works for the stage

Helnwein is also known for his stage and costume designs for theater, ballet and opera productions. Amongst them: "Macbeth" by William Shakespeare, (director, choreographer: Johann Kresnik), Theater Heidelberg, 1988, Volksbühne Berlin, 1995; "The Persecution and Murder ofJean Paul Marat, Performed by the Drama Group of the Hospice at Charenton, under Direction of Monsieur de Sade" by Peter Weiss, (director: Johann Kresnik), Stuttgart National Theatre, 1989; "Pasolini, Testament des Körpers", (director: Johann Kresnik), Deutsches Schauspielhaus Hamburg, 1996; "Hamletmaschine" by Heiner Müller, (director: Gert Hof), 47. Berliner Festwochen, Berlin 1997, Muffathalle, München, 1997; "The Rake's Progress" by Igor Stravinsky, (director: Jürgen Flimm), at Hamburg State Opera, 2001; "Paradise and the Peri", oratorio by Robert Schumann, (director, choreographer: Gregor Seyffert & Compagnie Berlin), Robert-Schumann-Festival 2004, Tonhalle Düsseldorf; Der Rosenkavalier" by Richard Strauss, (director: Maximilian Schell) at Los Angeles Opera, 2005,[23] and Israeli Opera Tel Aviv, 2006;"Der Ring des Nibelungen, part I, Rheingold und Walküre", choreographic theatre after Richard Wagner, (director, choreographer: Johann Kresnik), Oper Bonn, 2006; "Der Ring des Nibelungen", part II, Siegfried and Götterdämmerung, director, choreographer: Johann Kresnik), Oper Bonn, 2008, "The Child Dreams", by Hanoch Levin, composer: Gil Shohat, directed by Omri Nitzan, Israeli Opera, Tel Aviv, 2009/2010.

Chronology

  • 1965 - 1969 Helnwein studied at the Vienna Higher College for Graphic Art (Höhere Grafische Lehr- und Versuchsanstalt, Wien).
  • 1969 - 1973 he studied at the University of Visual Art in Vienna (Akademie der Bildenden Künste, Wien).
  • At that time he began to work on a series of hyper-realistic watercolour-paintings of bandaged and wounded children.
  • 1971 First public Aktions in the streets of Vienna, often with bandaged children (Aktion Sorgenkind, Aktion Hallo Dulder, Aktion Eternal Youth, Aktion Sandra).[24]
  • In the exhibition "Zoetus" at the Kunsthalle "Künstlerhaus" in Vienna unidentified people put stickers with the words "Entartete Kunst" (degenerate art) on Helnwein's paintings.
  • At the opening of an one man show at Galerie D. in Moedling, near Vienna, the Major has Helnwein's Artworks confiscated by the police.
  • 1972 An exhibition at the "Galerie im Pressehaus" (Gallery of the House of the Press) is closed after 3 days because of strong protests and threats by the works council.
  • 1979 Spurred into action by an interview in an Austrian tabloid in which the country's top court psychiatrist, Dr Heinrich Gross, admitted killing children at Vienna's Am Spiegelgrund Pediatric Unit during the war by poisoning their food, Helnwein painted Life not Worth Living - a watercolour of a little girl "asleep" on the table, her head in her plate. The painting was published in Austrias leading newsmagazine Profil and sparked a nationwide debate that finally led to Gross' appearing before a Vienna court . The judge ruled Gross was mentally unfit to be tried.[25]
  • 1982 Helnwein was offered a chair by the University of Applied Sciences in Hamburg, which he declined.
  • 1983 Helnwein met Andy Warhol in his factory in New York, who posed for a series of photo-sessions.
  • 1984 German and Austrian National Television co-produced the film "Helnwein", directed by Peter Hajek. In Los Angeles Helnwein meets Muhammad Ali, who appeared in his film. The film was awarded the Adolf Grimme Prize for best television-documentary and in the same year won the Eduard Rhein Prize and the Golden Kader of the city of Vienna for outstanding camera work.[26]
  • Rudolf Hausner, recommended Helnwein as his successor as professor of the master-class for painting at the University of Visual Art in Vienna, but Helnwein left Vienna and moved to Germany. He bought a medieval castle close to Cologne and the Rhine-river, where he lived and worked till 1997.
  • Besides his realistic work, Helnwein also began to develop abstract, expressive styles of painting during this period. He radically changes his way of working and now begins a series of large-format pictures consisting of several parts (diptychs, triptychs, poliptychs). In doing so he combines photomurals with abstract gestural and monochrome painting in oil and acrylic, also using reproductions of Caspar David Friedrich paintings and war documentary photographs which he assembles to form what Viennese art-critic Peter Gorsen calls "Bilderstrassen" (picture lanes).
  • 1987 Der Untermensch, Gottfried Helnwein, self-portraits of from 1970 - 1987, one man show at the Musée d'Art Moderne in Strasbourg.
  • Aktion Gott der Untermenschen (God of Sub-Humans), Performance at Camp Kopal, St. Pölten of the Austrian Army, using tanks and ammunition[27]
Gottfried Helnwein, "Ninth November Night", Installation between Ludwig Museum Cologne and the Cologne Cathedral, 375 x 1000 cm, Scanachrome on Vinyl, 1988.
  • 1988, In remembrance of "Kristallnacht"[37], the actual beginning of the Holocaust - 50 years earlier, Helnwein erected a 100 meter long installation in the city center of Cologne, between Ludwig Museum and the Cologne Cathedral. Just days into the exhibit, these portraits were vandalized by unknown persons, symbolically cutting the throats of the depicted children's faces.[28][29] Since then large scale installations in public spaces became an important part of his work.
  • Torino Fotografia 1989, Biennale Internationale, Gottfried Helnwein, David Hockney, Clegg and Guttmann.
  • 1989 Helnwein's photographic work from 1970 to 1989 was published in a monograph by Dai Nipon in Japan. Text by Toshiharu Ito.
  • 1990 One-man show in the Musée de l'Elysée, Lausanne. Installation "Neunter November Nacht".
  • 1990 Collaboration with Marlene Dietrich on the book Some Facts about Myself, for the occasion of the fall of the Berlin Wall. Her essay that gave the book its title was the last text that Marlene Dietrich wrote in her life[30].
  • 1991 Installation Kindskopf (Child's Head) in the Minoriten Church in Krems, Niederösterreichisches Landesmuseum (Museum of Lower Austria). Helnwein painted a 6x4 m (18x12 feet) child's head for the apse of the early Gothic basilica.
  • Helnwein finished 48 Portraits, a series of 48 monochrome red pictures of women (oil on canvas) as a counterpart to Gerhard Richter's "48 Portraits" of 1971, which depict only men in monochrome grey. The cycle of paintings was first shown at Galerie Koppelmann in Cologne, and later acquired by collector Peter Ludwig for the Collection of the Ludwig Museum in Cologne.
  • Helnwein began to focus on digital photography and computer-generated images which he often combines with classical oil-painting techniques.
  • 1993 One-man show at Rheinisches Landesmuseum, Bonn.
  • 1994 Stage design, costumes, and make-up for Macbeth, a production of Hans Kresnik's Choreographic Theatre at Volksbühne Berlin [38]. The play was awarded the Theatre Prize of Berlin.
  • 1997 Moved to Ireland [39].
  • German collectors Peter and Irene Ludwig donated 53 works of Helnwein to the collection of the State Russian Museum Saint Petersburg.
"Sehnsucht", (Rammstein), album cover artwork by Gottfried Helnwein, 1997
  • 2000 The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art shows Helnwein's Mickey I, (1995, oil and acrylic on canvas, 83" x 122") in the exhibition The Darker Side of Playland: Childhood Imagery from the Logan Collection.[33]
"The Golden Age of Grotesque", (Marilyn Manson), photographs by Gottfried Helnwein, 2003
  • Installation and performance with Manson at the Volksbühne Berlin.[44]
  • 2004 The Child, Works by Gottfried Helnwein, one-man show at the California Palace of the Legion of Honor, San Francisco Fine Arts Museums.[34] The exhibition is seen by 130,000 visitors. The San Francisco Chronicle calls the exhibition the most important show of a contemporary artist in 2004.[35]
  • Helnwein receives Irish citizenship.
  • 2005 Helnwein one man show "Beautiful Children" at the Ludwig Museum Schloss Oberhausen and the Wilhelm-Busch-Museum Hannover [37]. Helnwein retrospective at the National Art Museum in Beijing.
  • 2006 "Face it", one man show, Lentos Museum of Modern Art Linz [47]
  • On the occasion of the infamous incest case of Amstetten in Austria, the German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung writes: "Amstetten between discomposure and media-hype: A dungeon amidst the town, a father inflicting martyrdom onto his children - how we struggle to put the pieces of the incomprehensible together. The dungeon in Amstetten touches something deep inside the marrow of the Austrians, their dark side, mirrored in the poems of their authors and in the Images of Gottfried Helnwein, depicting people with forkes pusched into their eyes. Or Girls with blood running down their legs. Helnwein's paintings are nightmares, that tell of the dungeons in our heads..."[42].
  • "The last Child", Installation throughout the city of Waterford, Ireland [43][44].

Gottfried Helnwein currently lives and works in Ireland and Los Angeles.

Personal life

Helnwein has four children with his wife Renate: Cyril, Mercedes, Ali Elvis and Wolfgang Amadeus, who are all artists. He moved to Dublin, Ireland in 1997. In 1998 he bought castle Gurteen de La Poer in County Tipperary where he now lives with his family.[45] In 2004 Helnwein received Irish citizenship.[46] On December 3, 2005, Marilyn Manson and Dita Von Teese were married in a private, non-denominational ceremony at Helnwein's castle [47]. The wedding was officiated by surrealist film director Alejandro Jodorowsky[48], Gottfried Helnwein was best man [49]. The wedding pictures appeared in the March 2006 edition of Vogue under the heading "The Bride Wore Purple".[50] In the past, Helnwein has supported the Church of Scientology's Narconon organizations.[51]
His daughter Mercedes Helnwein is also a fine artist, a writer, and video artist.

Quotes

William Burroughs said of Helnwein:

"It is the function of the artist to evoke the experience of surprised recognition: to show the viewer what he knows but does not know that he knows. Helnwein is a master of surprised recognition." [52]

Helnwein is one of the few exciting painters we have today.
Norman Mailer[53]

Well, the world is a haunted house, and Helnwein at times is our tour guide through it. In his work he is willing to take on the sadness, the irony, the ugliness and the beauty. But not all of Gottfried's work is on a canvas. A lot of it is the way he's approached life. And it doesn't take someone knowing him to know that. You take one look at the paintings and you say "this guy has been around." You can't sit in a closet - and create this. This level of work is earned.
Sean Penn[54]

Gottfried Helnwein is my mentor. His fight for expression and stance against oppression are reasons why I chose him as an artistic partner. An artist that doesn't provoke will be invisible. Art that doesn't cause strong emotions has no meaning. Helnwein has that internalized.
Marilyn Manson [55]

Helnwein's subject matter is the human condition. The metaphor for his art is dominated by the image of the child, but not the carefree innocent child of popular imagination. Helnwein instead creates the profoundly disturbing yet compellingly provocative image of the wounded child. The child scarred physically and the child scarred emotionally from within.
Robert Flynn Johnson, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco [56]

Warhol is the pre-Helnwein ...
Dieter Ronte, Museum of Modern Art, Vienna [57]

Selected publications

  • Gottfried Helnwein - Monograph,
    Retrospective 1997, State Russian Museum St. Petersburg
    Alexander Borovsky, Klaus Honnef, Peter Selz, William Burroughs, Heiner Müller, H.C. Artmann, Klaus Honnef, Helnwein - The Subversive Power of Art,
    Palace Edition 1997, (ISBN 3-930775-31-X), Koenemann 1999, (ISBN 3-8290-1448-1)
  • Helnwein - Ninth November Night, 2003
    Documentary, Commemoration of the 65th Anniversary of Kristallnacht, Museum of Tolerance, Simon Wiesenthal Center, Los Angeles
    Johnathon Keats, Simon Wiesenthal, Johnathon Keats, Helnwein - The Art of Humanity

See also

Further reading

  • Klaus Honnef, The Subversive Power of Art, Gottfried Helnwein - A Concept Artist before the Turn of the Millennium, University of Heidelberg, 1997.[48]
  • Gerry McCarthy, Bloodied but unbowed, The Sunday Times, UK, September 14, 2008. [49]
  • Peter Gorsen, The Divided Self - Gottfried Helnwein in his self-portraits, Museum of Modern Art, Strasbourg, Edition Braus, Heidelberg, 1988. [50]
  • Lynell George: Gottfried Helnwein is in L.A.'s dark grip, Los Angeles Times, January 27, 2008.[51]
  • Kenneth Baker: Dark and detached, the art of Gottfried Helnwein demands a response, San Francisco Chronicle, August 9, 2004. [52]
  • Steven Winn, Childhood isn't what it used to be. In the arts, it's dark and complex, San Francisco Chronicle, November 17, 2004. [53]
  • Julia Pascal, Nazi dreaming, New Statesman, UK, April 10, 2006. [54]
  • Aiden Dunne, Cutting Edge, The Irish Times, August 1, 2001. [55]
  • Mark Swed: Strange, but True - Gottfried Helnwein's wondrous staging of Der Rosenkavalier, Los Angeles Times, May 31, 2005. [56]
  • Brendan Maher, Interview with Gottfried Helnwein, Start, Ireland, November 24, 2004. [57].
  • Mitchell Waxman, Helnwein ‘Epiphany’ Afflicts Comfortable, Jewish Journal, Los Angeles, July 23, 2004. [58]
  • Stella Rollig, Gottfried Helnwein: Face it, Lentos Museum of Modern Art, Linz, Exhibition, March 10 - June 5, 2006. [59].
  • Helen Kaye, Sleep of Death, Jerusalem Post, Dec 31, 2009. [60].
  • Jeanne Curran and Susan R. Takata, Shared Reading: Gottfried Helnwein, A Justice Site, California State University, Dominguez Hills, University of Wisconsin, Parkside, 2004. [61]

References

  1. ^ Roland Recht, 'Der Untermensch', Gottfried Helnwein, one-man show, Musée d’Art Moderne, Strasbourg, 1987
  2. ^ Robert Flynn Johnson, Curator in Charge, Robert Flynn Johnson, Curator in Charge,"The Child - Works by Gottfried Helnwein", California Palace of the Legion of Honor, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, ISBN 0-88401-112-7, 2004
  3. ^ Nirmala Nataraj, "Gottfried Helnwein's The Child, - Innocence Lost", SF Station, San Francisco, August 15, 2004 [1]
  4. ^ Steven Winn, Chronicle Arts and Culture Critic, "Critics Choices 2004, Top Ten", The San Francisco Chronicle, December 26, 2004
  5. ^ Harry S.Parker III, Director of Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, "The Child-Works by Gottfried Helnwein", Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, 2004
  6. ^ Gottfried Helnwein, "Memories of Duckburg", translation from German: "Micky Maus unter dem roten Stern", Zeit-Magazin, Hamburg, 12.May.1989. [2]
  7. ^ Petra Halkes, "A Fable in Pixels and Paint - Gottfried Helnwein's American Prayer". Image & Imagination, Le Mois de la Photo à Montréal, McGill-Queen's University Press, 2005 (ISBN 0-7735-2969-1)
  8. ^ Alicia Miller, "The Darker Side of Playland: Childhood Imagery from the Logan Collection at SFMOMA", Artweek, US, Nov 1, 2000. [3]
  9. ^ Gottfried Helnwein, Peinlich, color pencil, india-ink, and watercolor on cardboard, 60 x 35cm, 1971 [4]
  10. ^ Julia Pascal, "Nazi Dreaming", New Statesman, UK, April 10, 2006 [5]
  11. ^ TIME Magazine Cover: John F. Kennedy, by Gottfried Helnwein, Time magazine, Vol. 122 No. 21, November 14, 1983 [6]
  12. ^ Gabriel Bauret, "Gottfried Helnwein", CAMERA International, Paris, Dec. 1, 1992 [7]
  13. ^ Studio Helnwein, photo-session with Rammstein, Schloss Burgbrohl, July 5, 1998, www.helnwein-music.com [8]
  14. ^ HISTORY - Past, Present and Future, CD cover booklet, Michael Jackson, 2005 [9]
  15. ^ Gottfried Helnwein, Marlene Dietrich, "Some Facts about Myself", Edition Cantz, Stuttgart, Kathleen Madden, New York, 1991, (ISBN 3-89322-226-X)
  16. ^ Evie Sullivan, Interview with Marilyn Manson, Inrock, Japan, July, 2004 [10]
  17. ^ Green Day: "American Idiots & the New Punk Explosion", The Disinformation Company, 2006, (Page 198), (ISBN 1-932857-32-X) [11]
  18. ^ Julia Pascal, "Nazi Dreaming", New Statesman, UK, April 10, 2006
  19. ^ Gregory Fuller, "Endzeit-Stimmung - Düstere Bilder in Goldener Zeit", Du Mont Publishing House, Cologne, 1994.[12]
  20. ^ Peter Gorsen, "Gottfried Helnwein - The Divided Self", Museum of Modern Art, Strasbourg, Edition Braus, Heidelberg, 1988 [13]
  21. ^ Mitchell Waxman, "The Helnwein Epiphany", The Jewish Journal, Los Angeles, July 23, 2004 [14]
  22. ^ Julia Pascal, "Nazi Dreaming", New Statesman, UK, April 10, 2006
  23. ^ Anthony Tommasini, "A 'Rosenkavalier' Without Ham and Schmaltz?", The New York Times, May 31, 2005.[15]
  24. ^ Gottfried Helnwein, Aktion Sorgenkind, Vienna, 1972, Works, www.helnwein.com [16]
  25. ^ Kate Connolly, "Helnwein, the man who used his own blood to paint Hitler", The Guardian, UK, May 16, 2000 [17]
  26. ^ 34.Filmfestival of Berlin, "Helnwein", The film, Peter Hajek, ORF and ZDF (Austrian and German National Television), 1984 [18],[19]
  27. ^ Aktion Gott der Untermenschen, Camp Kopal, Austrian Army, (Kopal-Kaserne, St. Pölten-Spratzern, Panzerbrigade 10, österreichisches Bundesheer), 1987 [20]
  28. ^ Roland Mischke, "Aefflinge und Tschandalen", Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 11. October 1988.[21]
  29. ^ Simon Wiesenthal, "Thoughts", Ninth November Night, Installation by Gottfried Helnwein, 09. November 1988 [22]
  30. ^ Some Facts about Myself, Helnwein, Dietrich, Edition Cantz, Stuttgart, 1990, (ISBN 3-89322-226-X) [23]
  31. ^ "The Art of Gottfried Helnwein and the Comic Culture", The Carl Barks exhibition, www.helnweincomic.homestead.com [24]
  32. ^ Rammstein, "Sehnsucht", Motor Music GmbH, Hamburg, 1997
  33. ^ Alicia Miller, "The Darker Side of Playland: Childhood Imagery from the Logan Collection at SFMOMA", Artweek, US, August 20, 2000 [25]
  34. ^ "The Child: Works by Gottfried Helnwein", one man show, 31 July–28 November 2004, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, Legion of Honor [26]
  35. ^ Steven Winn, Chronicle Arts and Culture Critic, "Critics Choices 2004", The San Francisco Chronicle, Dec 26, 2004 [27]
  36. ^ Mark Swed, "Strange but True", The Los Angeles Times, May 31, 2005
  37. ^ "Beautiful Children" at Ludwig Museum Schloss Oberhausen and Wilhelm-Busch-Museum Hannover, Germany, 2005 [28]
  38. ^ Resolution of the council of the city of Philadelphia, No. 060769, October 19, 2006.[29]
  39. ^ The hanging of "Death Valley", (American Landscape I, 2002, oil and acrylic on canvas, 48 x 300 inches) at the State Capitol in Sacramento, April 2007 [30]
  40. ^ Link to Second Life, The Virtual Museum of Art [31].
  41. ^ The Virtual Museum of Art, website
  42. ^ "At the Abyss - Incest Case in Austria", Sueddeutsche Zeitung, Holger Gertz, 28. April 2008 [32]
  43. ^ "Bloodied but unbowed", The Sunday Times, Gerry McCarthy, 14. September 2008, [33]
  44. ^ "The last Child", Installation in Waterford, www.helnwein.com
  45. ^ Gottfried Helnwein | ARTIST | Studio | Ireland
  46. ^ Gottfried Helnwein | IRELAND | Ireland Special | HELNWEIN RECEIVES IRISH CITIZENSHIPDocument of Irish Citizenship
  47. ^ Maeve Quigley, "Rocker ties Knot with Dita", Sunday Mirror, UK, December 4, 2005 [34]
  48. ^ People magazine, "Marilyn Manson Marries Girlfriend in Ireland", December 04, 2005
  49. ^ The wedding ceremony, Dita and Manson at Castle De la Poer, Ireland 2005, Alejandro Jodorowsky officiates at the wedding, Helnwein is best man, www.helnwein.com [35]
  50. ^ Hamish Bowles, Steven Klein, "The Bride Wore Purple", Vogue, pages 546 - 556, March 2006
  51. ^ Peter Reichelt, Helnwein and Scientology (H A S):Lies and Treason, pp. 137-141. (1997)
  52. ^ "Helnwein Faces", 1992, Edition Stemmle, Switzeland, pages 6-7, ISBN 3-7231-0447-9 (exhibition-catalogue), ISBN 3-7231-0427-4 (hardcover)
  53. ^ From a letter by Norman Mailer to Helnwein's wife Renate, written in Provincetown, Massachusetts, June 23, 1989
  54. ^ Statement by Sean Penn in the documentary "Ninth November Night", a Film about Gottfried Helnwein and his Installation for the 50. Anniversary of "Kristallnacht" at Ludwig Museum in Cologne, 1988 and other references to the Holocaust in his Work. Director Hennng Lohner, Los Angeles 2003
  55. ^ "Ich bin Amerikas Alptraum", Interview by Christoph Dallach, Jörg Böckem, Der Spiegel, Hamburg, May 5, 2003, page 178, [36]
  56. ^ "The Child - Works by Gottfried Helnwein", The Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco, 2004, pages 9 - 23, ISBN 0-88401-112-7
  57. ^ Essay by Dieter Ronte about Andy Warhol, Profil, Vienna, 1984

External links


Quotes

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Gottfried Helnwein (born October 8, 1948, in Vienna) is an Austrian-Irish people fine artist, photographer and installation and performance artist.

Sourced

  • In retrospect I would say from Donald Duck I have learned more about life than from all the schools I ever attended.
  • Opening my first Donald Duck comic book felt like seeing the daylight again for someone who had been trapped underground by a mine-disaster for many days. I squinted cautiously because my eyes hadn't gotten used to the dazzlingly bright sun of Duckburg yet, and I greedily sucked the fresh breeze into my dusty lungs that came drifting over from Uncle Scrooge's money bin. I was back home again, in a decent world where one could get flattened by steam-rollers and perforated by bullets without serious harm. A world in which people still looked proper, with yellow beaks or black knobs instead of noses. And it was here that I met the man who would forever change my life - Donald Duck.
  • " When I started to paint, I painted children because I just felt that I wanted to take their side. What always upset me was how children are getting abused simply because they are physically weaker and not capable of defending themselves – how they get raped, enslaved and killed. I never understood why some people seemed to have fun causing pain to someone smaller."
  • My question always was: why do people always cause so much pain to other people? Why does everybody look so hurt? When I started to paint I didn’t feel I had any message. My art was not an answer – it was a question.
    • Interview by Yuichi Konno, Yaso magazine, Japan, 2003
  • Imaginations and illusions are always so much more powerful and bigger than this mediocre and boring thing called reality.
    • Interview by Yuichi Konno, Yaso magazine, Japan, 2003
  • Art is a weapon for me, with which I can strike back.
    • Interview by Marc Kayser, art-magazine Quest, Berlin, March 2004
  • When I look at a work of Art I ask myself: does it inspire me, does it touch and move me, do I learn something from it, does it startle or amaze me - do I get excited, upset? That is the test any artwork has to pass: can it create an emotional impact on a human being even when he has no education or any information about art? I’ve always had a problem with art that you can only understand if you have a degree in art history, and I have a problem with theories. Most of them are bullshit anyway. Most critics and theorists have little respect for artists, and I think the importance of theory in art is totally overrated. Real art is self-evident. Real art is intense, enchanting, exciting and unsettling; it has a quality and magic that you cannot explain. Art is not logic, and if you want to experience it, your mind and rational thinking will be of little help. Art is something spiritual that you can only experience with your senses, your heart, your soul.
  • The first time I saw a picture of Elvis - I was in a state of shock, because I couldn't believe that a human being could be so beautiful.
    • Interview by Helmut Sorge, Los Angeles, 2006
  • "High" and "low" are completely arbitrary and artificial distinctions that some bloated assholes invented to make life more complicated. Comics are considered "low", but when Roy Lichtensein comes and picks out one panel of a comic, projects and paints it on a canvas then it's suddenly "high" art? Give me a break. The only thing that I care about in art is quality, intensity. Is a work of art capable of touching and moving me? Does it cause an emotional impact on me? Does it startle, surprise, upset, excite me? Does it make me think? Does it inspire me? Does it stimulate my imagination? Does it change the way I view the world to some degree?
  • Most societies are ruled by mediocre people that have no vision and no imagination. Most rulers are scared of creation and creative people. Artists are funny people. All they want is to touch and move, challenge and surprise others. But dictators hate surprises more than anything else. All they want is to turn their territory into a neat little toy prison camp and play with their little toy people. Push them around, rip a leg or a head off now and then or throw them into the garbage when they are tired of their stupid, little doll faces.

About Gottfried Helnwein

  • Warhol is the pre-Helnwein.
    • Dieter Ronte, director of the Museum of Modern Art Vienna, essay for the Austrian newsmagzine Profil, 1984
  • The grimaces on these mocking distorted faces signalize disobedience, opposition and turmoil, as well as a kind of childlike autonomy in the depraved world of adults. The grin found on the faces of ill-treated children, a grotesque picture puzzle which includes both the martyrdom and subversion of mankind is entirely Helnwein’s invention. It is manifested in the metamorphic images of injured bodies. It is an obsessive pattern which is repeated in Helnwein’s pictoral representation of the world and in his staged artistic actions, serving as a metaphor for the invulnerability and invincibility deeply seated in man.
    • Peter Gorsen, about the depiction of wounded children in Helnwein's work, Albertina Museum catalogue, Gottfried Helnwein solo-exhibition, 1985, www.gottfried-helnwein-child.com
  • How does a friendly person like Helnwein stand making his — excellent — painting into a mirror of the terrors of this century? Or is it that he can't stand not doing it? Does his mirror just reflect the attitude of the century? Terror without end is better than ending in Terror.
    • Heiner Müller, essay "Black Mirror", Gottfried Helnwein, Self-portraits, Musée d’Art Moderne, Strasbourg, Edition Braus, Heidelberg, 1988,
  • Helnwein is one of the few exciting painters we have today.
  • It is the function of the artist to evoke the experience of surprised recognition: to show the viewer what he knows but does not know that he knows. Helnwein is a master of surprised recognition.
  • Helnwein is a very fine artist and one sick motherfucker.
    • Robert Crumb, letter to his San Francisco art-dealer Martin Muller, 1992
  • Gottfried Helnwein's paintings evoke complex layers of history and psychology. Working with extraordinary technical sophistication, Helnwein seamlessly fuses traditional craftsmanship and contemporary conceptual investigations.
    • Gary Garrels, Curator, SFMOMA San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, 1998
  • Well, the world is a haunted house, and Helnwein at times is our tour guide through it. In his work he is willing to take on the sadness, the irony, the ugliness and the beauty. But not all of Gottfried's work is on a canvas. A lot of it is the way he's approached life. And it doesn't take someone knowing him to know that. You take one look at the paintings and you say "this guy has been around." You can't sit in a closet — and create this. This level of work is earned. As an artist my strongest reaction to Helnwein's work is that it challenges me to be better at what I do. There are very few people that achieve utter excellence in what they do. And I think that Gottfried Helnwein is certainly one of those people.
  • Gottfried Helnwein is my mentor — on any artistic thing I've done. His fight for expression and stance against oppression are reasons why I chose him as an artistic partner. An artist that doesn't provoke will be invisible. Art that doesn't cause strong emotions has no meaning. Helnwein has that internalized.
    • Marilyn Manson, Interview by Evie Sullivan, Inrock, Japan, July 2004
  • The most powerful images that deal with Nazism and Holocaust themes are by Anselm Kiefer and Helnwein, although, Kiefer's work differs considerably from Helnwein's in his concern with the effect of German aggression on the national psyche and the complexities of German cultural heritage. But Kiefer and Helnwein's work are both informed by the personal experience of growing up in post-war German speaking countries... William Burroughs said that the American revolution begins in books and music, and political operatives implement the changes after the fact. To this maybe we can add art. And Helnwein's art might have the capacity to instigate change by piercing the veil of political correctness to recapture the primitive gesture inherent in art.
    • Mitchell Waxman, Jewish Journal, Los Angeles, August 2004
  • Helnwein's subject matter is the human condition. The metaphor for his art is dominated by the image of the child, but not the carefree innocent child of popular imagination. Helnwein instead creates the profoundly disturbing yet compellingly provocative image of the wounded child. The child scarred physically and the child scarred emotionally from within.
  • Of all his paintings, the most disturbing is Epiphany (1996), for which he dips into our collective memory of Christianity's most famous birth. This Austrian Catholic Nativity scene has no magi bearing gifts. Madonna and child are encircled by five respectful Waffen SS officers palpably in awe of the idealised, kitsch-blonde Virgin. The Christ toddler, who stands on Mary's lap, stares defiantly out of the canvas. Helnwein's baby Jesus is Adolf Hitler.
    • Julia Pascal, "Nazi Dreaming", New Statesman, UK, April 2006
  • Helnwein has always said that he paints children because they symbolize humanity better than adults. This may be so, but perhaps Helnwein's images are so profoundly disturbing because of the disparity between the portrayal of children- in all their idealized purity- and the portrayal of suffering. His work is a mesmerizing commentary not only on the exploitation of children in our culture, but also on emotional vacancy and moral torpor, which too often implicate us in the pain of others.
  • If anyone from Austrian fine art of the last fifty years could be called a star, then there is only one person who meets all the criteria: Gottfried Helnwein.

External links

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