RARE Gottfried Helnwein - original autographs - bothsigned Austria art with COA

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Seller: rsaigal (655) 100%, Location: Ann Arbor, Michigan, Ships to: US & many other countries, Item: 173654786223 Gottfried Helnwein two color photo postcards, each approximately 4x6 inches, one of a seated woman with her underwear around her ankles, the other of Helnwein painting a girl's face, both SIGNED in black ink. In very fine condition with COA from autograph auction house R&R enterprises! Gottfried Helnwein - Face It An extensive show of work by Gottfried Helnwein is presented in the large exhibition hall of the Lentos Museum in spring 2006. With this exhibition Lentos has organized the artist's first show in Austria since he left his home country in the mid-1980s – Helnwein was born in Vienna in 1948. Following a number of years in Germany Helnwein now lives in Los Angeles and Ireland. In Austria Helnwein is still remembered as a "provocateur" and "shock artist", as which he established himself a quarter of a century ago primarily through his cover pictures and illustrations for the news magazine Profil . The name Helnwein then stood for hyperreal depictions of wounded and deformed people, often children, and for citations from pictures from popular culture, especially from the world of Carl Barks ("Donald Duck"). In light of the substantial further development of his work in conjunction with new image treatments and the use of new media (digital photography, video), it is time for a comprehensive view of this oeuvre today. This is interesting, not least of all, in the context of a boom in new figurative painting and in light of the largely predominant references to media images and popular culture in more recent painting. An updated view of Helnwein's subject matter and his mode of production reveals an artist devoted primarily to moral, emancipatory motifs, whos e place within so-called "political" art is only now recognizable to its full extent. What has remained is a pleasure in masquerades and roll plays, which is most masterfully present in the grotesque portraits of the musician and performer Marilyn Manson. The exhibition presents around forty works from every phase of his creativity since the early 1970s. It is both a retrospective and a thematic show at the same time: the selection follows the subject of the human face as a leitmotif throughout Helnwein's oeuvre. This includes not only painting and drawing, but also digital photography and video, in part with a painterly treatment. 2 SELECTION OF WORKS from 1971 - 2005 The selection of forty of Gottfried Helnwein's works exhibited here covers all previous periods of creativity beginning with the 1970s. The magnetic atmosphere and puzzling uncertainty that Helnwein's art conveys hav e increased over the course of his phases of development in intensity and radiance. The picture themes focus on memory and repression, on childhood and constellations of power. They show Helnwein as an arti st who is primarily devoted to social and socio-political concerns and seeks to communicate this through his work. Again and again, the artist is simultaneously the protagonist and "creature" of his own works, as his numerous self-portraits prove. The scope of the cross-section presented in the exhibition Face It ranges from a selection of five works from the 1970s, through eight from the 1980s and nine from the 1990s. The greater portion of the exhibited large format works are from the current Sleep and Manson series from 2000 to 2005. As Thomas Edlinger notes in his catalogue essay "The Search for Visibility – What do Helnwein Pictures Want?", the artist has long devoted himself to the theme of representing suffering. Sometimes he sets himself in the scene as protagonist, taking up the historically traditional topos of the artist exemplifying suffering. Whereas in the 1970s and 1980s Helnwein produced effects with bandaged bodies and faces (see Beautiful Victim, 1974 ; Der Eingriff, 1971; Selbstporträt, 1983 ), through the over-sized representation and moments of National-Socialist iconography, his most recent works appear tremendously alluring and develop an inscrutable ominousness for the viewer (see Epiphan y, 2005; Der Schwur , 2000). The children's faces from the series Sleep convey a quiet, nearly indifferent reserve with respect to a process that they themse lves merely quietly bear in almost apathetic condolence. Edlinger calls this state a "turning effect that makes the familiar unfamiliar" and it is conspicuous specifically in these picture series like Sleep . 3 1970er Der Eingriff, 1971 Kleine Korrektur, 1972 Guten Morgen, liebe Enten!, 1972 Selbstporträt, 1972 Beautiful Victim, 1974 1980er Judaskuss II, 1985 Untitled, 1988 Tod des Pinocchio, 1988 Glückspilz, 1987 Black Mirror II 1987 The Last Days Of Pompeij, 1987 Gott der Untermenschen, 1987 Selbstporträt, 1983 1990er Angels Sleeping IV, V, VI, 1999 Ohne Titel (nach Andrea Mantegna), 1993 Die Erweckung des Kindes, 1997 Feuermensch, 1991 Eismensch, 1991 Untitled, 1998 Epiphany III, 1998 Blue Boy, 1999 2000 – 2005 Modern Sleep I, 2003 Kindskopf 10, 2004 Mouse IV, 2005 LA Confidential 2000 I Walk Alone, 2003 Stage Fright, 2003 Der Schwur, 2000 Boys, 2000 Downtown, 2002 The Golden Age 9, 2003 The Golden Age 37, 2003 The Golden Age, 2003 The Golden Age II, 2003 The Golden Age 1, 2003 The Golden Age 2, 2003 Sleep 3, 2004 Sleep4, 2004 Sleep 8, 2004 Sleep 9, 2004 Epiphany 2005 Photography and Painting To realize his works Helnwein makes use of the most diverse techniques, which he does not see as competing with one another, but instead uses with the advantages of the various media. In this way he unites photography and painting, explaining his procedure as follows: "I distinguish between purely photographic works, which often lead through many stations and sources like collage and computer manipulation to the final print, and mixed media works, which are essentially oil and acrylic paintings, but are subject to a process of creation similar to the photos. As soon as I have the image I want, it is either projected onto the canvas and traced in outlines, or it is digitally printed on the canvas in a rough form and then further developed in 'old masters' method. First in acrylic, then in oil. The depicted people, objects and spaces in my pictures are from various archives (L.A. Public Library, Bava rian State Archive, etc.), from newspapers, magazines, books, and from people, objects and places I have photographed myself." (Gottfried Helnwein, quoted in Thomas Edlinger's essay in the catalogue "Face It") Catalogue FACE IT 4 The catalogue FACE IT is published by Christian Brandstätter, Vienna, with an introduction by Stella Rollig, essays by Thomas Edlinger and Nava Semel, and numerous color pictures. (museum edition EUR 28,-) Helnwein to wear: T-Shirt Glückspilz in a limited edition of 200 (EUR 19,90) The exhibition has been realized with kind support from the . Most Recent Exhibitions and Projects (selected): 2005 Beautiful Children, solo exhibition at the Ludwig Museum Schloss Oberhausen and at the Wilhelm Busch Museum Hannover Los Angeles Opera: cooperation with Maximilian Schell and Kent Nagano for the opera Der Rosenkavalier by Richard Strauss (stage, costumes, make-up, video, light). 2004 "The Child – Works by Gottfried Helnwein" , solo exhibition at the Fine Arts Museum, Palace of the Legion of Honor, San Francisco Irish and other Landscapes , solo exhibition at the Crawford Municipal Art Gallery in Cork, Ireland Meisterwerke der Medienkunst aus der ZKM-Sammlung, group exhibition. Zentrum für Kunst und Medientechnologie Karlsruhe 2003 "Paradise Burning" (American Paintings III), solo exhibition at the Modernism Gallery, San Francisco. The Golden Age of Grotesque , Cooperation with Marilyn Manson for several photo, video and performance projects. Exhibition and performance with Marilyn Manson, Volksbühne, Berlin Meisterwerke der Fotografie: Face to Face. Portraitfotografie aus der Sammlung der DG- Bank. Galerie der Stadt Stuttgart Gottfried Helnwein: Biography 5 Gottfried Helnwein (* 8. October 1948 in Vienna) Helnwein began studying in 1965 at the Experimental Institute for Higher Graphic Education (Höheren Graphischen Lehr- und Versuchsanstalt) in Vienna, together with Manfred Deix; in 1969 he began studying painting at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna. He was awarded the Cardinal König Prize, the Master School Prize and the Theodor Körner Prize. The documentary film "Helnwein", 1984 (directed by Peter Hajek, co- production ORF, ZDF) was distinguished with the Adolf Grimme Prize, the Eduard Rhein Prize and the Golden Frame from the city of Vienna. In the 1970s Helnwein became known primarily for his hyperrealistic pictures of wounded and bandaged children, and the depiction of the child has remained the central theme of his work. He works with diverse techniques and style devices. In addition to drawing, watercolor, acrylic and oil painting, especially since the 1980s photography has been one of his most important media, often in conjunction with performances. Since the 1990s, alongside painting he has concentrated more and more on digital photography and large format installations in public space, usually with a social or socio- political intention. Since the late 1990s he has also started to include videos in his work. He has created stage sets for Maximilian Schell (Los Angeles Opera), Jürgen Flimm (Hamburg State Opera), Hans Kresnik (Volksbühne Berlin, the State Theater Stuttgart, the German Theater Hamburg), Gregor Seyffert (Robert Schumann Festival Düsseldorf) and Gert Hof (Hamlet Machine by Heiner Müller, Berlin, Munich). 1985 solo exhibition at the Albertina, Vienna Rudolf Hausner proposed Helnwein as his successor as head of the masterclass for painting at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna, but Helnwein moved to Germany instead. 6 1988 in remembrance of the so-called "Reichskristallnacht" in 1938 Helnwein created the 100-meter long installation "Neunter November Nacht" (Ninth November Night) in Cologne between the Museum Ludwig and the Cologne Cathedral. Cooperation with Hans Kresnik on the choreographic drama "Macbeth" after William Shakespeare, which was distinguished with the Berlin Theater Prize. 1989 solo exhibition at the Folkwang Museum, Essen. 1997 Helnwein moves to Ireland. The most extensive Helnwein retrospective to date takes place in the same year at the Russian Museum in St. Petersburg. 2000 exhibitions at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. 2001 stage set for the opera "Rake's Progress" by Igor Stravinsky at the Hamburg State Opera, directed by Jürgen Flimm 2002 establishes a studio in Los Angeles. 2003 premiere of the Helnwein documentary "Ninth November Night" at the Museum of Tolerance, Simon Wiesenthal Center, Los Angeles. Cooperation with Marilyn Manson and Sean Penn on experimental video and film projects. 2004 "The Child", the Helnwein retrospective at the Legion of Honor, San Francisco Fine Arts Museum, is seen by 130,000 visitors. The San Francisco Chronicle calls the show the best exhibition of a living artist in 2004. Helnwein is granted Irish citizenship. 2005 cooperation with Maximilian Schell on the opera "Der Rosenkavalier" by Richard Strauss for the Los Angeles Opera. Conductor: Kent Nagano. “Beautiful Children”, solo exhibition at the Ludwig Museum Schloss Oberhausen and at the Wilhelm Busch Museum Hannover 2006 Retrospective at the Lentos Art Museum Linz 2008 Retrospective at the National Art Museum in Beijing. Gottfried Helnwein lives and works in Ireland and Los Angeles. 7 Quotations from and about Gottfried Helnwein: I learned more from Donald Duck than from all the schools I attended. Gottfried Helnwein Helnwein is one of the few exciting painters we have today. Norman Mailer 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. William S. Burroughs As long ago as 1963 a fellow-artist and I imagined the horrible future of a free-lance artist. The topic of our discussion was not so much finances as the necessity of letting go and totally abandoning oneself. At the time I had the idea of inventing something like a "fitness training of geniuses". In retrospect I must say that I know very few artists who have persevered in this imaginary training programme. Gottfried Helnwein is one of them. Wolfgang Bauer 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 AN ENDING IN TERROR Heiner Mülle Gottfried Helnwein is one of the most important int ernationally known Austrian artists. On the occasion of his 65th birthday, the Albertina is dedicating the first retrospective of his works in Europe to him. More than 150 works from all phases of his career p rovide insight into Helnwein's creative work, which is characterised by a pointed dialogue with society, its bête noires and taboo subjects. He primarily became known for his hyperre alistic paintings of wounded and bandaged children. Even Disney figures take on a me nacing aspect in Helnwein's works. Pain, injury and violence are recurring motifs in h is unsettling and disturbing works. In Helnwein’s work, the child functions as a repres entative of the defenseless, dependent, and abandoned human being. In his early photo actio ns, in which Helnwein was initially the sole protagonist, the child played the role of mart yr from 1970 onward. He presents the child as victim, bandaged, mistreated with surgical tools. He himself practiced in these works the part of the dominant opponent exercising his power. The motif of black-and- white photographs later served Helnwein as a model and inspiration for his graphic works. In the drawings and watercolors of his early creati ve period, Helnwein depicted children, usually disfigured, with mutilations and growths, s cars and sutures. He brought their internal wounds and injuries to light and turned th em inside out, so to speak. Physical advances and defilements by adults; forcing tubes, forceps, or their bare hands into their mouths; are tolerated apathetically by the children portrayed. Yet at the same time they self-confidently display grimaces, which “signal di sobedience, resistance, conflict, something like the autonomy of children in the depr aved world of adults,” 1 and thus oppose the injustice done to them. Over the years, the child remained a constant, almo st obsessive theme in Helnwein’s work, which he varied and developed. He employed it in hi ghly diverse media—in his actions and the photographic documentation thereof, in his late r color photographs, and in his works on paper, in paintings, and even in his stage sets for theatrical performances. He represented children in repulsive and disturbing ways but also in their auratic, inviolable beauty. In his monochrome blue paintings, he captur ed them in their calm and gentleness; in large-format, hyperrealistic paintings, he lent them strength and presence. In some works the child stands completely alone. In others, he or she appears together with adults, as, for example, in a series of works with biblical scenes, in which Helnwein placed Christian iconography in a National Socialist context. In Epiphany I (Adoration of the Magi), the magi are stylish Nazi officers surrounding the Virgin an d Child—perhaps the infant Hitler? In Helnwein’s work, the child represents many aspec ts. Helnwein used the child to allude to little-noticed things or to clarify contexts, and h e repeatedly reacted with his portraits of children to powerful social themes. His early works already address the theme of child abuse. As early as the 1970s his depictions of mist reated and tortured children anticipated the current debate over mistreatment in children’s homes. 2 He was one of the first to address the exploitation of children in art. In his most recent works Helnwein addresses war and violence. The series The Disasters of War 3 and Murmur of the Innocents 4 show children wearing military uniforms and carryi ng weapons, some with bandages or bleeding wounds. In these works, Helnwein takes up the ideological abuse of children and raises the questi on of perpetrators and victims. On the one hand, the children recall the young suicide bom bers of the Middle East; on the other, they allude to the young perpetrators of massacres in American schools and the associated discussion of private gun ownership. 5 With his paintings of wounded and bleeding children , Helnwein spans the arc of subject matter even further. For instance, his works can al so be interpreted in the context of the self-mutilation of teenagers, in which primarily yo ung girls cut themselves with sharp objects. Social Criticism The works of Gottfried Helnwein should be understoo d against the backdrop of his biography. Growing up in Vienna in the 1950s and 19 60s in petit-bourgeois circumstances, he was raised Catholic in accordance with the corre sponding moral ideas. He remembers that a child back then had to obey and be good, cou ld not ask questions, and was not permitted to have an opinion of his or her own. 6 As a child Helnwein felt powerless vis-à-vis the world of adults, in which much was taboo and li ttle was explained. He was confronted with the inability of adults to talk about recent e vents, about the atrocities of the Third Reich. Helnwein felt that things took place in hidi ng and that illusions had to be preserved at any cost. He expressed these things repeatedly i n his work. Later, as a young man, he saw that the most banal e vents caused vehement outrage 7 while other, more substantial things were swept under the rug. Helnwein was deeply depressed put it. 14 Helnwein again caused a public stir in Cologne in 1 988 with his poster installation Neunter November Nacht (Ninth November Night), which he intended as a rem inder of the so-called Reichskristallnacht (Night of Broken Glass) of 1938 , precisely fifty years earlier. He dispensed with any historical documentary photograp hs. He was concerned rather with transferring into the present what he considered to be the biggest delusion of National Socialism: the selection and “rejection” of “life u nworthy of life.” A wall of posters measuring a hundred meters along Track 1 of the mai n train station in Cologne, in the immediate vicinity of the cathedral and the Museum Ludwig, displayed seventeen portraits of children living in Germany—Christian children, c hildren of other faiths from so-called guest worker families, handicapped children. In add ition to the posters, there was a panel with illustrations on the “doctrine of race.” Helnw ein’s action led to outraged reactions from the public, and, already on the second day, th e portraits were damaged with cuts at the height of the children’s throats. Helnwein had had similar experiences previously. At his first exhibitions, works were pasted with the label “Entartete Kunst” (Degenerate Art), his works were seized as pornography, and one exhibition was closed after just three days . For that reason, too, Helnwein early on confronted the question of the effect and power of an image, what it can trigger and how it can be employed to deceive and confuse. Reality and Fiction In most phases of Helnwein’s work, imaginary and co mic figures appear like intruders. As early as Peinlich (Embarrassing, 1971), a doll-like creature is hold ing a comic book in her bandaged hands; in Sonntagskind (Sunday’s Child, 1972), a duck licking a popsicle walks past a blind child. Walt Disney characters in particular are regularly recurring figures in Helnwein’s works. Helnwein encountered these charac ters as a child, even before he learned to read, in Mickey Mouse comic books in Ger man. He describes this encounter as a revelation. Duckburg opened up for him a completely new, foreign, colorful world, which in his sad everyday life seemed like a salvation. Dona ld Duck, the constant failure who never gets discouraged, represented a suitable figure of identification for a child in cheerless postwar Austria. Helnwein took up Donald Duck as a motif in many of his drawings and later in his monochrome paintings as well. Mickey M ouse also became an actor in his works, often appearing monstrous, with bared teeth. Helnwe in suggests a latent dark side behind this deceptive grinning, thus pointing to the evil concealed beneath a beautiful appearance, behind a facade. In Helnwein’s paintings, cartoon characters meet re al people in bizarre encounters. They creep up to children’s beds or appear to children a s dreamlike visions, as figures of salvation or as alter egos. Usually they infiltrate and thwar t the horror depicted in the paintings and thus illustrate its absurdity. Recently, Helnwein has also been integrating figure s from the world of manga and anime into his works. Beginning with children’s shows and games and moving via fashion and lifestyle to pornographic films for adults, this ae sthetic has been becoming increasingly significant in recent years. Whether as a daring fi ghter, a female role model, or a sex object, these figures are omnipresent in today’s popular cu lture. Helnwein uses these characters to point to the incr easingly diffuse transition from reality to fiction. More than ever, life today plays out in simulated spaces and virtual networks. Conversely, reality shows appear to portray real li fe. Death can be experienced daily in computer games. In The Disasters of War 19, one of his more recent works, Helnwein boldly pres ents a war scene of the sort familiar from television and news papers. A soldier amid burning vehicles is trying to save a barefoot girl from the ruins and d estruction. Helnwein places a manga girl in a school uniform in the foreground of the scene. Embedded in this venue, she illustrates the absurdity of modern warfare, in which attacks a re carried out over great distances using a monitor and a joystick, thus blending with the re ality of computer games. Like the small child in Osterwetter, the girl looks at us seriously with large eyes. Sh ocked and embarrassed, she appears not to understand the world that suddenly surrounds her, the horrors of which have broken into her former idyll. Biography BiographyBiography Biography 1948 Gottfried Helnwein born in Vienna 1965–69 Studied at the Höhere Graphische Lehr- und Versuchs anstalt, Vienna 1966 First actions with a small audience 1969–73 Studied painting at the Akademie der bildenden Küns te, Vienna 1970 First photographic self-portraits with bandages and surgical instruments, followed shortly thereafter by first photographic actions with child ren Meisterschul-Preis of the Akademie der bildenden Kü nste, Vienna First solo exhibition at the Nachtgalerie im Atrium , Vienna Action Die Akademie brennt (The Academy is Burning) 1971 First actions in public spaces in Vienna Kardinal-König-Preis In an exhibition at the Künstlerhaus in Vienna, unk nown parties place labels with the words “Degenerate Art” on Helnwein’s paintings At the Galerie D in Mödling, near Vienna, Mayor Kar l Stingl has paintings by Helnwein seized by the police prior to the exhibition openin g because of their supposedly pornographic content 1972 A solo exhibition at the Galerie des Pressehauses i n Vienna is cut short after only three days on account of fierce protests against Helnwein ’s works, including threats of a strike by Pressehaus employees 1973 First cover for Profil magazine, on the subject of suicide in Austria 1974 Theodor-Körner-Preis 1979 First solo exhibition at the Albertina, Vienna Publication of the watercolor Lebensunwertes Leben (Life Unworthy of Life) in Profil magazine, together with an accompanying letter from Helnwein to the Viennese forensic physician Dr. Heinrich Gross 1982 Rejects offer of a chair in media design at the Hoc hschule für Angewandte Wissenschaften, Hamburg, because his ideas cannot be reconciled wit h those of the university Selbstporträt als Schreiender, Geblendeter (Self-Portrait as a Screaming, Blinded Man) is published on the cover of Zeit Magazin in conjunction with an article on Helnwein and as the cover of the LP Blackout by the German rock band Scorpions 1984 TV documentary Helnwein (Director: Peter Hajek) Meets the Disney cartoonist Carl Barks, the “creato r of Duckburg” Rudolf Hausner proposes Helnwein as his successor t o head the master class in painting at the Akademie der bildenden Künste, Vienna, but the rector and many professors protest this proposal Moves with his family to Germany 1987 Solo exhibition Helnwein: Der Untermensch; Self-Portraits, 1970–198 7 at the Musée d’Art Moderne, Strasbourg 1988 Creates a hundred-meter-long installation in Cologn e, Selektion: Neunter November Nacht (Selection: Ninth November Night) in memory of the Third Reich’s pogrom in 1938 (Kristallnacht) Helnwein’s poster for Peter Zadek’s production of F rank Wedekind’s Lulu at the Deutsches Schauspielhaus in Hamburg triggers a storm of indig nation 1991–92 Paints his 48 Portraits of female figures in response to Gerhard Richter’s eponymous cycle of paintings of 1971–72, which depicted only men as modern figures 1994 Curates and organizes the first museum exhibition o f Disney cartoonist Carl Barks, which is shown at ten museums worldwide through 1998 Stage and costume designs for Pasolini. Testament des Körpers (Pasolini: Testament of the Body) at the Deutsches Schauspielhaus in Hamburg (D irector: Hans Kresnik) 1997 Moves with his family to Ireland The Russian Museum in Saint Petersburg presents the largest Helnwein retrospective to date Stage design for Heiner Müller’s Die Hamletmaschine , Arena, Berlin, and Muffathalle, Munich (Director: Gert Hof) 2001 Stage design for Igor Stravinsky’s opera The Rake’s Progress at the Hamburgische Staatsoper (Director: Jürgen Flimm) 2002 Establishes a studio in Los Angeles 2004 The Palace of the Legion of Honor in San Francisco presents Helnwein’s first solo exhibition in the United States 2005 Set and costume design for Richard Strauss’s opera Der Rosenkavalier at the Los Angeles Opera and the Israeli Opera, Tel Aviv 2006 Solo exhibition Face It! at the Lentos Museum, Linz Honored by the City of Philadelphia for his artisti c contribution to keeping the memory of the Holocaust alive 2007 Goose Egg Nugget Award of the Carl Barks Fan Club 2009 Film Der Künstler Gottfried Helnwein – Die Stille der Un schuld (The Artist Gottfried Helnwein: The Silence of Innocence) (Director: Clau dia Schmid) Steiger Award für Kunst 2010 Visual design for the opera The Child Dreams, Israeli Opera, Tel Aviv 2012 Three solo exhibitions in Mexico City Gottfried Helnwein (born 8 October 1948) is an Austrian-Irish visual artist. He has worked as a painter, draftsman, photographer, muralist, sculptor, installation and performance artist, using a wide variety of techniques and media. Helnwein studied at the University of Visual Art in Vienna (Akademie der Bildenden Künste, Wien). His early work consists mainly of hyper-realistic watercolors, depicting wounded and mistreated children, as well as performances – often with children – in public spaces.[1] 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. Helnwein lives and works in Ireland and Los Angeles. Contents 1 Career 1.1 The Child 1.2 Comics and trivial art 1.3 Self portraits 1.4 References to the Holocaust 1.5 Works for the stage 2 Chronology 3 Personal life 4 Quotes 5 Selected publications 6 See also 7 References 8 Further reading 9 External links Career The 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 State Russian Museum St. Petersburg). 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.[2] 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".[3] 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".[4] Comics and trivial art Another strong element in his works 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 a dreary, destroyed 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[5])[6] 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...".[7] Although Helnwein's work is rooted in the legacy of German expressionism, he has absorbed elements of American pop culture. In the 1970s, 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)[8] 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".[9] 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.[10] 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[11] and the German industrial metal band Rammstein[12] posed for him; some of his art-works appeared in the cover-booklet of Michael Jackson's History album.[13] Referring to the fall of the Berlin Wall Helnwein created the book Some Facts about Myself, together with Marlene Dietrich.[14] In 2003 he became friends with Marilyn Manson[15] 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.[16] 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.[17] '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.'[18] 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.[19] 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.".[20] 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.[21] 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 of Jean-Paul Marat as Performed by the Inmates of the Asylum at Charenton under the Direction of the Marquis 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,[22] 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, "Die 120 Tage von Sodom" ("Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom"), nach de Sade und Pasolini, director: Johann Kresnik, Volksbühne Berlin, 2015. Chronology This section is in a list format that may be better presented using prose. You can help by converting this section to prose, if appropriate. Editing help is available. (May 2015) 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).[23] 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 a 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 Austria's 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.[24] 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 Austrian and German 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.[25] 1985 One man show at the Albertina, Vienna. 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[26] 1988, In remembrance of "Kristallnacht",[27] 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. 1989 One-man show at the Folkwang Museum in Essen. 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. Helnwein met William S. Burroughs in Lawrence, Kansas. Cooperation with German poet and playwright Heiner Müller and choreographer Hans Kresnik on a play about Antonin Artaud. 1990 One-man show in the Musée de l'Élysée, 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. Aktion-Reaktion, exhibition of the Austrian painters Arnulf Rainer, Hermann Nitsch, Günter Brus, and Helnwein, works from the Schömer collection, at the Foundation Fiecht, Austria. 1994 Stage design, costumes, and make-up for Macbeth, a production of Hans Kresnik's Choreographic Theatre at Volksbühne Berlin.[31] The play was awarded the Theatre Prize of Berlin. Helnwein curated and organized the first museum exhibition of Disney artist Carl Barks, the creator of the Donald Duck universe, Uncle Scrooge and Duckburg. The retrospective was shown in 10 European museums and seen by more than 400,000 visitors.[32] 1997 Moved to Ireland.[33] In the same year, the State Russian Museum in St. Petersburg organized a Helnwein retrospective and published a monograph of the artist.[34] German collectors Peter and Irene Ludwig donated 53 works of Helnwein to the collection of the State Russian Museum Saint Petersburg. Photo-session with the German industrial metal band Rammstein. Their album Sehnsucht is released with six different covers by Gottfried Helnwein.[35] 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.[36] Helnwein's Black Mirror, (Self-Portrait, polaroid, 1987) in the show Ghost in the Shell at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. 2001 Stage and costume design for the Hamburgische Staatsoper of Igor Stravinsky's opera The Rake's Progress.[37] 2002 Helnwein established a studio in Los Angeles. 2003 Premiere of the Helnwein documentary Ninth November Night, the Art of Gottfried Helnwein at the Museum of Tolerance, Simon Wiesenthal Center, Los Angeles. Director: Henning Lohner, Commentators: Sean Penn, Maximilian Schell, Jason Lee, Introductory text by Simon Wiesenthal. (Camera: Jason Lee, Darren Rydstrom, Bernd Reinhardt).[38] Collaboration with Marilyn Manson on the multi-media project The Golden Age of Grotesque[39] and video productions like Doppelherz und Mobscene. Installation and performance with Manson at the Volksbühne Berlin.[40] Collaboration with Sean Penn on the Music Video 'The Barry Williams Show' by Peter Gabriel[40] 2004 The Child, Works by Gottfried Helnwein, one-man show at the California Palace of the Legion of Honor, San Francisco Fine Arts Museums.[41] 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.[42] Collaboration with Maximilian Schell for the Richard Strauss opera Der Rosenkavalier[43] at Los Angeles Opera,[44] and Israeli Opera Tel Aviv. Helnwein receives Irish citizenship. 2005 Helnwein one man show Beautiful Children at the Ludwig Museum Schloss Oberhausen and the Wilhelm-Busch-Museum Hannover.[45] Helnwein retrospective at the National Art Museum in Beijing. 2006 Face it, one man show, Lentos Museum of Modern Art Linz[46] The council of the city of Philadelphia honors Gottfried Helnwein for his artistic contributions in keeping the memory of the Holocaust alive[47] 2007 Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger acquired the painting "Death Valley (American Landscape I, 2002, oil and acrylic on canvas, 48 x 300 inches) for the Governor's Council Room at the California State Capitol in Sacramento.[48] Participation in the exhibition Rembrandt to Thiebaud: A Decade of Collecting Works on Paper, De Young, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. 2008 Retrospective at Rudolfinum Gallery in Prague. I Walk Alone, one man show at the Natalie and James Thompson Art Gallery, San Jose State University. 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..."[49] The last Child, Installation throughout the city of Waterford, Ireland.[50][51] Kunst nach 1970 – Art after 1970, Albertina Museum Vienna. 2009 Friedman Benda Gallery, New York represents Gottfried Helnwein, one man show. Participation in two exhibitions at the Albertina Museum in Vienna: Body and Language – Contemporary Photography from the Albertina Collection, (Gottfried Helnwein, Chuck Close, Marie Jo Lafontaine, Jannis Kounnellis, Helmuth Newton, Erwin Wurm, John Coplans) and Masterpieces of Modern Art, The Permanent Collection of the Albertina and the Baitliner Collection. 2010 For the Israeli Opera Gottfried Helnwein creates sets and costumes for Gil Shohat's opera adaptation of the play The Child Dreams by Hanoch Levin. The Installation Ninth November Night in Tel Aviv, Israel. 2011 Confrontation of the "48 Portraits" by Gerhard Richter and the "48 Portraits" by Gottfried Helnwein as a double-installation in the exhibition "Undeniable me" at Galerie Rudolfinum in Prague. In 1971/72 Gerhard Richter created an iconic set of paintings depicting 48 men that influenced Modernity, based on the black and white reproductions in encyclopaedias. Exactly 20 years later 1991/92, Gottfried Helnwein replied with the counterpart, also called "48 Portraits" depicting 48 women in monochromatic red.[52] 2012 October 18 – Opening of 3 Helnwein exhibitions in Mexico City: Faith, Hope and Charity – Solo exhibition at the Museo Nacional de San Carlos, Song of the Aurora, Galería Hilario Galguera and Santos Inocentes, installation and exhibition at the Monumento a la Revolución.[53] 2012 on 28 Dec Forbes Magazine published an article by Jonathon Keats under the heading: The True Impact of Violence on Childhood? Why every American ought to See the Paintings of Gottfried Helnwein. "Two days after the Sandy Hook school massacre, a survival gear company called Black Dragon Tactical composed a new slogan to promote sales of armored backpack inserts. “Arm the teachers,” the company declared on Facebook. “In the meantime, bulletproof the kids... The question may be political, but the keenest response is to be found in a museum in Mexico City, the Museo Nacional de San Carlos, at a retrospective of paintings and photographs by the Austrian-American artist Gottfried Helnwein. Helnwein’s extraordinary work depicts the fragile innocence of children. Devoid of grown-up sentimentalism, his images can be overwhelming, especially those that show how that innocence falters in an adult world.[54] 2013 The retrospective at the Albertina Museum in Vienna was seen by 250.000 visitors and was most successful exhibition of a contemporary artist in the history of the Albertina.[55][56] 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 Kilsheelan County Tipperary where he now lives with his family.,[57][58] In 2004 Helnwein received Irish citizenship.[59] On 3 December 2005, Marilyn Manson and Dita Von Teese were married in a private, non-denominational ceremony at Helnwein's castle.[60] The wedding was officiated by surrealist film director Alejandro Jodorowsky,[61] Gottfried Helnwein was best man.[62] The wedding pictures appeared in the March 2006 edition of Vogue under the heading "The Bride Wore Purple".[63] His daughter Mercedes Helnwein is also a visual artist and writer. 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."[64] Helnwein is one of the few exciting painters we have today. Norman Mailer[65] 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[66] 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[67] 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[68] Warhol is the pre-Helnwein ... Dieter Ronte, Museum of Modern Art, Vienna[69] Selected publications Helnwein Retrospective at the Albertina Museum Vienna, Hatje Cantz, 2013 Klaus Albrecht Schröder, Elsy Lahner, Howard N. Fox, Siegfried Mattl, exhibition catalogue, (ISBN 978-3-7757-3584-1) The Child, Works by Gottfried Helnwein One man exhibition 2004, San Francisco Fine Arts Museums Robert Flynn Johnson, Harry S. Parker, Robert Flynn Johnson, The Child – Works by Gottfried Helnwein, (ISBN 978-0-88401-112-5) Face it, Works by Gottfried Helnwein One man exhibition 2006, Lentos Museum of Modern Art Linz Stella Rollig, Thomas Edlinger, Nava Semel, Stella Rollig, Presence and Time: Gottfried Helnwein's Pictures Christian Brandstätter, Wien 2006, (ISBN 978-3-902510-39-6) Angels Sleeping – Retrospective Gottfried Helnwein Retrospective 2004, Rudolfinum Gallery Prague, Peter Nedoma, 2008. Essay, Peter Nedoma speaks with Gottfried Helnwein, (ISBN 978-80-86443-11-9) 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 978-3-930775-31-6), Koenemann 1999, (ISBN 978-3-8290-1448-9) 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 “A writer as well as visual artist, Mercedes Helnwein does not so much tell stories or even capture moments in her drawings as she triggers possibilities—the possibilities being vaguely unlikely, vaguely unsavory, and not-so-vaguely menacing, rather like inverse Magrittes. Helnwein’s basic ingredient is the fully, fashionably, clothed human figure, more often than not regarding the viewer or about to; occupying a peculiarly lit, but familiar space, they are shown engaged in a solipsistic soliloquy— self-absorbed and drenched in an almost urgent ennui—with someone and/or something else. The something else is never a weapon, and the someone else never seems to be a love interest or BFF, so the narrative tension keeps to a simmer. But that tension is the more pervasive for its very indirection and indefinability…” -Peter Frank for Art Ltd Mercedes Helnwein was born in Vienna, Austria, daughter to Austrian artist Gottfried Helnwein. She moved to Ireland with her family in her teens, where she spent her time writing and drawing. Consciously choosing not to attend art schools, Helnwein developed a distinct visual style that remained fully untouched by outside opinions, peers or fads. Instead she drew her inspiration from personal influences, ranging from Southern Gothic traditions to the cartoons of Robert Crumb, nineteenth Century Russian literature, American motel culture and the Delta blues, amongst others. Her first art shows were self-instigated, unorthodox one-night events in Los Angeles often with one or two other inexperienced young artists, most commonly photographer Alex Prager. Sponsored by various alcoholic beverage companies, magazines, and unlikely supporters such as Land Rover, these shows generated a surprisingly genuine response and enabled Helnwein to continue developing her ideas, styles and experimenting with her interests and themes. She exhibited regularly in Los Angeles during this period at the Merry Karnowsky Gallery, as well as in Europe, steadily garnering interest and collectors, amongst them Damien Hirst, who bought out a London show. With her series "Asleep in the Wind" Helnwein broke from the primarily pencil-focused style of her early work, moving onto large-scale formats and experimenting with oil pastel as a medium. In 2015 she further developed her work in this direction with "Living Room Fire", expanding into a wider range of media and delving deeper into the theme of American living rooms and the "almost normal" activities of its characters. Film and photography has also long been an integral part of Helnwein's work, whether behind the scenes as reference material or in the forefront with films for her exhibitions, such as the "Cops and Nurses" film in 2013. Her brother, composer Ali Helnwein, often collaborates with her on these projects. Her novel “The Potential Hazards of Hester Day” was published by Simon & Schuster in 2008, and in French by La Belle Colére in 2014 as “La Ballade d’Hester Day”. Her second novel is in the process of being edited. Mercedes Helnwein currently lives and works in downtown Los Angeles and Ireland Facing Innocence: The Art of Gottfried Helnwein Mark Van Proyen …the radical dethroning of Cartesian perspectivalism may have gone a bit too far. In our haste to denaturalize it and debunk its claims to represent vision per se, we may be tempted to forget that the other scopic regimes…are themselves no more natural or closer to a “true vision.” Glancing is not somehow innately superior to gazing; vision hostage to desire is not necessarily always better than casting a cold eye. Martin Jay, Scopic Regimes of Modernity (1988) The difference between truth and fiction is that fiction has to make sense. Wexler, in Tom Tykwer’s film The International (2009) Most of Gottfried Helnwein’s paintings from the past two decades take the solitary faces of young females as their subjects, often portraying them in a beatific state, even though they might also bear the signs of serious physical trauma. Other paintings include groupings of multiple figures using Baroque and Mannerist pictorial conventions to suggest or outrightly posit a dramatic confrontation between innocence and evil. Never is it made clear which will survive. Such ambiguities are what make Helnwein’s work disturbing, fascinating, and compelling, as the viewer is given little choice but to complete the outcome of that confrontation in his or her own imagination. By conflating scenes of religious conversion with the historical trappings of state-sponsored violence, Helnwein masterfully balances the evocation of hope and fear to create cautionary allegories illuminating the dark sides of history and the human psyche. His works also reveal some of the disturbing stories that have been ignored by modernist art criticism, touching upon the deeper anxieties that aesthetically sophisticated arrangements of flat color aim to banish from their “transcendental” pursuit of visual purity. A good example of such a confrontation is Untitled (2005), a large canvas. Here, two figures are positioned in a shadowy interior. The first is a presumably comatose youth, lying face-up upon a bed, seeming as if she might have been chemically sedated. Her flimsy gown leaves her legs provocatively bare, and she is painted in a close tonal range to emphasize a delicate light/dark modeling, which suggests the illumination of silvery moonlight. The other figure is much larger and comes into the scene as if entering onto a stage. He is a large man, clad in a heavy, full-length coat, wearing a grotesquely oversized top hat. He bends over the girl in a manner that confuses any clear reading of good or bad intent; however, his long phallic nose, pointed directly toward the youth’s pelvic area, gives away the game. It is worth noting that this larger figure emanates a bright orange-yellow glow and seems to catch the light in a very different way than does the supine girl. It is as if he walked into the scene from a dream, announcing himself to be a distant cousin to the menagerie of demons haunting the sleeping figure portrayed in Henry Fuseli’s Freudian psychodrama, The Nightmare (1781). Yet, despite the presence of the unconscious female and the menacing nose, Helnwein’s Untitled painting is no mere exercise in Freudian symbolism run awry. It is best understood as an allegory of innocence and its loss, one akin to the cautionary moralism central to Goya’s cycle of etchings, The Disasters of War. As is the case with many of Goya’s earlier images, the sleep of vigilance in Helwein’s Untitled has produced an anonymous monster of opportunism, dressed here in the most appropriate of costumes, part toy soldier and part faceless agent of institutional violence. From this all-too-revealing costume, we infer that rank can imagine itself to hold some very disturbing privileges. Rank is status conferred by a higher power, so its misdeeds tend to evidence a deeper and more systemic corruption. Always, it starts with some form of institution, but ultimately, it reaches back to the underlying ideology upheld and perpetuated by that institution, at least up until institutional self-perpetuation becomes its reason for being. This historical truism is made particularly clear when we observe the political behavior of organized religions in contrast to the values they claim to uphold. Inevitably, a schism forms between motive and deed, and many of Helnwein’s figure groupings picture that schism in high dramatic relief. This is certainly the case with the many-figured compositions that Helnwein executed throughout the 1990s. Many of these works show men wearing the uniforms of Nazi soldiers as in Epiphany I/ Adoration of the Magi (1996), or more ambiguously, business attire, as is the case with Epiphany III/ Presentation at the Temple (1998). Even when clothed in the ordinary, as in Oath (2000), such figures stand in rigid formation, united by their common Heil Hitler salute as they face a girl child whose head is heavily bandaged. Although most of these works are based on digitally manipulated Nazi propaganda photographs, Helnwein restages them and uses a bleak, raking light that emphasizes dark, chiaroscuro modeling. Most of these works shy away from vivid color; this makes their subjects seem all-the-more ghostly, hinting at the fact that we are still haunted by the undead spirits of bygone trauma and moral confusion. Helnwein’s figure groupings hark back to the pictorial conventions of the second half of the sixteenth and first half of the seventeenth centuries. It is worth noting that a ten-decade period of contest took place during this period when the Church of Rome was beset by a crisis of faith bred by Protestant challenge to the control of newly “discovered” colonial wealth. In the years following the Council of Trent (concluded in 1563), visual art was deemed an official vehicle of instruction intended to return strayed Christians to the Catholic fold. It was also used to inspire and rationalize military and colonial adventurism, even though its subjects were often taken from Biblical stories about the virtues of martyred saints, thus used to suggest that the moral price of colonialism had been underwritten by the cosmic suffering of the martyrs. The Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna is home to a particularly stunning example of this kind of image. Titled Madonna of the Rosary, it was completed by Caravaggio in 1607, a time when the papacy was in a state of chaos. All of the controversies of the Reformation and Counter Reformation are embedded in this grandly scaled painting, which can be read as a subversion of the church’s then-current aesthetic program of pictorial drama and architectural opulence. Positioned at the center of the painting’s grand composition are the Madonna and Child, representing and idealizing the unconditional love at the heart of the mother-child dyad, the purest love known on earth. But, for the exception of a Dominican priest located on the right side of the picture, the six figures kneeling at left seem unmoved by their witness to this miracle. Instead, they focus their devotional gaze on a clutch of rosary beards dangling from the hand of another priest standing above them. Caravaggio’s message is as clear as it is pointed: those who would put their proscribed faith in symbolic trinkets make the choice to turn away from the divinity that truly matters. In this painting, Caravaggio offers a parable that mirrors the important lessons of the gospel stories, which fell by the wayside when the Catholic organization became corrupt and self-serving. It is a message that the church fathers would have done well to embrace; but instead, three decades of bloody religious war ensued, the only victor of which was the advent of secular democracy arising from the ashes of conflict. Helnwein lived in Vienna for almost three decades, studying at the city’s University of Visual Art from 1969 to 1973 (the very same institution that rejected a prospective student named Adolf Hitler in 1907). It seems almost certain he would have been familiar with Caravaggio’s masterpiece. Certainly, many of Helnwein’s figural groupings register that influence in varying degrees, departing from it in a number of unique directions to editorialize on politics in a distinctly twenty-first-century way. His work is certainly more overt and provocative than could have been conceived four centuries ago and much more aware of the dire historical outcomes invited by misplaced faith in ideology. This particular lesson went part-and-parcel with a childhood spent in Vienna during the post-World War II and Cold War period, a time in which Austrians came to terms with their hidden history of being perpetrators during the former and their subsequent potential victimization in any warming of the latter. Even today, Helnwein’s art frequently flirts with the possibility of official damnation, as it is always adamant in asking questions and revealing truths beyond comfort zones. On a few occasions, his public installations have attracted vandals, and, in the early years, two of his exhibitions were closed by the Viennese municipal authorities. Clearly, on these occasions, someone didn’t like what the work had to say. The potentially traumatic confrontation between innocence and corruption has always been the great subject of Helnwein’s art, and it is to his credit that it has been more concerned about raising questions than providing comforting answers. To accomplish this mission, he employs a highly refined and naturalistic style of pictorial description, simultaneously more and less artificial than the subjects he portrays. This serves to remind the viewer about the ways that “reality” reveals itself to be a social construct that only “seems” natural, even if its apparent naturalism masks ghastly or nonsensical motives. Through his work, we can re-imagine how the depicted social circumstances might be changed, but we are also compelled to consider how real historical forces keep them from changing. Helnwein’s work recognizes that each generation reinvents the drama of moral confrontation using its own distinct idiom, and he has always felt obligated to register the contradictions of his moment in a way that locates it as part of a larger, timeless struggle. For example, in works from the 1990s, corruption is usually personified by homuncular figures belonging to some form of toxic mass psychology, be they Nazi zealots or disfigured Communist apparatchiks. In the following decade, corruption was represented by well-known cartoon characters such as Mickey Mouse or Donald Duck, often rendered as figures of malice, who hide ill intentions behind mechanical smiles belonging to a regimented and manipulative vision of family-friendliness. That Helnwein’s paintings seemingly equate Counter Reformation doctrine with the motives of the contemporary global entertainment industry seems unavoidable, leading us to draw some very disturbing historical analogies to our present moment. Gottfried Helnwein, "The Resurrection of the Child" (1987) The Resurrection of the Child (1987) On the other hand, innocence is almost always personified in Helnwein’s paintings by pre-adolescent females who usually seem to possess a quiet wisdom beyond their years. Sometimes, they appear stiff and oblivious, as is the case with the frozen and bandaged central figure in the early watercolor titled Beautiful Victim (1972), or by the very similar figure surrounded by police tumult in The Resurrection of the Child (1987).The latter painting presents us with a canny reworking of a traditional deposition scene, the girl positioned as a Christ figure within a scheme that paradoxically hints of abduction and protection. In most cases, however, these portraits are serene depictions of faces bespeaking a state of grace we might associate with a kind of transcendental vulnerability. This is a brilliant conflation of the plaintive suffering of Christ with the boundless reassurance of the Madonna’s empathetic smile and some measure of Buddhist non-attachment also intimated. Helnwein states: “…the image of the child was always the center of my work. And for some reason I find the specific aesthetic, emotional or mystic qualities that I am looking for mainly in girls in the age between 6 –10. In my search for the ideal child I ended up with a very small group of children that I used as models over and over again. Though I don’t consider them to be objects but rather artistic partners in a collaborative process, their identities are not important for the art-work.” This runs to the heart of how Helnwein negotiates what has been called “the portrait problem,” which points to the difficulties inherent in the form. Both continuity and discontinuity run between what is captured of the psychology of a specific person and the social typology that might be represented by that individual. This problem deeply preoccupied the likes of Velázquez and Rembrandt during the early and middle decades of the seventeenth century. Since that time, the problem has become increasingly complicated by the advent of photography, mass media, digital animation, and other recent phenomena, such as social networking sites that host virtual communities of “faces” numbering in the millions. Indeed, the portrait problem is no longer the happy vexation of trained artists, but is now actively shared, pursued, and exponentially reinvented by a vast multitude of amateur image-makers. As a consequence, the portrait is quickly turning into a common visual currency evermore rich with innovation. The problem then is that innovation keeps moving with an ever-increasing velocity. This rate of change expands and radically dilutes the idea of an essential self synonymous with an introverted spirituality embedded in a deep existential reflection. Consequently, Helnwein’s approach to the portrait makes a particular kind of sense for our current moment. His portraits actively campaign for us to slow down and condense the meaning of the portrait face. Doing so turns such images into powerful objects that invite and demand protracted contemplation, which may lead to a unique kind of self-reflection. Whereas the portraits of Velázquez and Rembrandt often reveal the faces of people marked by layers of experience, Helnwein’s portraits of the young and female evoke an idealized state of grace before the inevitable onset of those layers. On other occasions, he shows innocence in the immediate aftermath of its violation, pointedly depicting the young and vulnerable after they have received a serious injury or are burdened under militaristic garb and automatic weapons representing the weight of corruption. Whether they be images of pre-adolescents pictured in a state of unconscious sleep (or death), as in the series titled Los Caprichos (2006), in nocturnes such as the Sleep series (2004–2008), or in works where the gaze of the sitter confronts the viewer, as in The Murmur of the Innocents (2009), we may see the beguiling faces of the young and female jeopardized by a perversely sexualized mass media. They are held up as icons of an innocence that seems to disappear before the hungry camera’s gaze. With such subjects, the imminent onset of experience itself is suggested to be inevitable and senseless—a compromise of their grace-state about to take place for no good reason. In this regard, Helnwein’s images of innocence may be seen as cousins to the stunning portraits that Velázquez painted of the Infanta Margarita and Prince Baltasar Carlos (several of which are in the collection of the Kunsthistorisches Museum), two children destined to die young shouldering the burden of a family history not of their making. Interestingly, Helnwein’s portrait paintings, although derived from photographic sources, offer a painterly reworking that returns some measure of authentic and even transcendent innocence to his subjects. This is by virtue of the fact that painting can bridge the chasm between specificity of description and metaphysical meaning in a way that cannot be achieved with photography. Helnwein’s portraits work from the information provided by their photographic sources rather than toward it. This allows the artist to emphasize the guileless self-assuredness of youth and innocence while also inflating it through his use of large canvases. It is worth noting that Helnwein has exhibited some of these portraits in church chapels. Such display emphasizes the human potential for sacred and transcendental significance. This represents an aspect of Helnwein’s work that has not invited much comment. Whereas his figural groupings intend controversy, inviting commentators to weigh in on the blunt politics they provoke, many of Helnwein’s single portraits are straightforward appeals to the viewer’s capacity for a special kind of empathy, asking us to experience the fusion of vulnerability, grace, and dignity that comes so easily to children, even in modern times. In other portraits of presumably male subjects, such as Blue Boy (1999) or those captured in the series titled Righteous Man (1999), the antagonists are monstrously disfigured. Their portrayal obverts the innocence revealed in the portraits of girls. Here, form is given to the will to violate and destroy. One might surmise from these works that, for Helnwein, the image of transcendent vulnerability must by definition carry with it the inevitable risk of violation, simply because reality itself is senselessly brutish and can be nothing but. No story ever told could or can change this fact or offer understanding of why it is so. Ideological fiction may have to make a kind of rationalizing sense, but reality is what it is, and sans ideology, is all that is. The mystical significance of the ideal child guides the majority of Helnwein’s paintings to completion. This image may also play an important role in his practice of photography, although here the spirit of provocation returns. In the photographs, mixed signals abound, and although it can be said that in his paintings Helnwein works from his photographic sources, his recent color photographs seem to reach for a kind of painterly quality that belies the mechanical character of the medium. At first glance, the results seem informed by fashion photography rather than by conventional fine art notions. Such intimations, however, are a set-up. His photographs use the mannerisms of fashion photography to ruthlessly mock its underlying social manipulations. For example, in the series of digital prints titled Modern Sleep (2004), the vulnerable young female appears again in military uniform. In this series, the figure gazes toward the camera as if pleading for the approval of some unseen, and monstrous, father figure. In the psychologically complex photograph titled Last Supper (Evidence for the Existence of God), a holy family composed of three figures represents Helnwein’s modern rewrite of the holy trinity. Here, the mother flashes a knowing smile while a perplexed daughter stands in for the infant Jesus. The scene is completed with a father figure who is covered in bandages and bright blue make-up, representing the most unholy spirit of a morbid patriarchy. Or is it a more general turning-of-the-tables on the historical suppression of women? In Helnwein’s image, the answer could well be yes. Helnwein’s reference to patriarchal morbidity draws upon the very beginnings of the artist’s career, when the artist engaged in a peculiar self-portrait practice related to performance actions he conducted during his early years in Vienna. In photographs of the artist wearing bandages and torturous medical apparati, Helnwein vividly cast himself as both artist and protagonist. His role: the recovering convalescent once victimized by various social environments. Helnwein emphatically states that “my own identity was never of any importance for my ‘self-portraits,’ they were never meant to be auto-biographic.” From this, it may be inferred that the persona presented in these works was intended to be a somewhat satiric representation of a kind of Viennese everyman, an absurd protagonist embodying the contradictory historical experience inherent in being an Austrian during the 1950s and ‘60s. It is worth remembering that Austria sustained a ghostly interstitial identity during the Cold War. The experience of “walking on eggs” in between two heavily armed superpowers manifested itself in the Austrian psyche as a grand denial. This was amplified by silent prohibitions against publically remembering the recent past of World War II, doing much to shape a postwar Austrian identity that finally necessitated the explosive and cathartic performance work of artists such as Rudolf Schwarzkogler and Hermann Nitsch, both associated with the Vienna Aktion group. It is certainly tempting to think that Helnwein would have been influenced by the work of those artists, but as he explains, “…contrary to popular belief in today’s art-world—until the early ‘70s, the performances of the Viennese Aktionists took place in isolated places amidst very small groups of fellow artists and friends and were not publicly known. The so-called “Uni-Ferkelei” (“Uni-mess”) took place in 1968 at the Vienna University and was the first scandal that made headlines in Austrian papers. But journalists didn’t go into details, because, at that time it was considered not possible to describe these incidents in mainstream media. They were vague and circumscribed, and reporters squirmed and talked about ‘scandalous’ things that had happened and called the participants ‘pigs.’ Nobody really knew what the hell happened there… Until the end of the ‘70s, I never had any contact to any of the Vienna Aktionists (They were 10 years older), but I started my first performances [in] 1966 while I was in the Viennese College for Graphic Design (“Higher Federal Institution for Graphic Education and Experimentation” – Hermann Nitsch studied there a decade earlier). I cut my face and hands with razor blades, etching- and wood-engraving tools and covered my face in blood and bandaged myself. From 1970 on, while I studied at the Akademy of Visual Art in Vienna, I began to work on performances with children often in various public locations. Some of the photographs of these performances served later as inspirations for watercolor-paintings and drawings… [it was] 1975 when I saw the work of Schwarzkogler for the first time in a catalogue. I was shocked, because his work had so many similarities to mine. He died [in] 1969 and I had never heard of him before.” Given the dramatic nature of Helnwein’s early actions, as well as related photographs and watercolor paintings, it is not at all surprising to learn that since 2002 the artist spends half of every year in Los Angeles, a place that, in terms of geography and cultural experience, is far away from the Ireland in which he spends the other half, and about as far away from the Vienna of the 1960s and ‘70s as can be imagined. Given that Helnwein is an accomplished stage designer and installation artist, as well as one of the most remarkable painters of our time, it is a move that makes perfect, albeit paradoxical sense. “LA is my beloved polluted ugly/beautiful home, but Ireland is also my home. Ireland is everything that LA is not: the air is fresh and crisp, the land is green and people are sane. I guess I need both sides. Usually I spend the summer in Ireland and the winter in LA. I have no studio in Austria, but more and more I love to go back to the place where I was born. My art is deeply rooted in this old culture. That will never change and wherever I go there will always also be a little bit of Austria.” In other words, no matter where you go, there you are, holding onto a complex cultural baggage cart that grows ever more remarkable with each passing year. There is no doubt that the art and insight produced from this experience will sustain our interest for a very long time, simply because the objects will say important things we need to hear, even if we are reluctant to hear them. Artist: Gottfried Helnwein, Listed By: Dealer or Reseller, Originality: Open Edition Print

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