Texts and Essays
Edition Stemmle – November 30, 1991
There is a basic misconception that any given face, at any given time, looks more or less the same, like a statue's face. Actually, the human face is as variable from moment to moment as a screen on which images are reflected, from within and from without. I have seen six pictures of the same subject taken in less than a minute - so different one from the other, as not to be recognizable as the same person.
Helnwein - Faces, Edition Stemmle – November 30, 1991
Looking at Gottfried Helnwein' portraits, we once again experience the shock of the new, of an unprecedented view of the person opposite.
I have observed many people confronted with these portraits for the first time and again and again they would show surprise, intensity of experience and fascination.
Helnwein's portraits can be seen as counterpoles to the technically sophisticated smoothnes of the portraits of Robert Mapplethorpe.
Catalogue,museum of lower Austria – November 30, 1990
Installation at the Niederösterreichisches Landesmuseum in the Minoritenkirche Krems/Stein, 26. May - 7. July 1991
The auratic face of a child, six metres high, four metres wide, hanging in the triumphal arch of a medieval church, surrounded by dozens of canvases in the standard size of 200 by 140 cm that are mounted on the church's pillars and walls show heads and fantasy creatures which only on closer inspection may be easily recognized as children's drawings - once more Helnwein upsets traditional structures of perception in a number of ways, including the expectations that visitors have of a Helnwein exhibition. This is signalled already by the title "KINDSKOPF", which in addition to being a reference to the theme depicted (the head of a child) refers to the ironically serious self-representation of the artist (in German "Kindskopf" is a somewhat condescending colloquialism for an adult acting in childish ways), similar to Helnwein's earlier catalogue title "Subhuman" ("Untermensch") of 1988.
polyaisthesis – 30. November 1989
Internationale Gesellschaft für Polyästhetische Erziehung, Hochschule für Musik und Darstellende Kunst, Mozarteum, Salzburg
Über Kunst und ihre Botschaft im postmodernen Dschungel transkultureller Rätsel
An dieser Stelle sollen nun drei Beispiele diskutiert werden, Bilder von Klaus Staeck, Gottfried Helnwein und Paolo Baratella, die das ästhetische Programm der Protestmalerei bis zum gesellschaftlichen Eklat getrieben haben.
Katalog, Folkwang Museum Essen – 30. November 1988
one man show, Folkwang Museum Essen, Germany
Gottfried Helnwein or The World behind the Objects
Wenn wir von Helnwein sagen, er habe von aussen nach innen gemalt, dann heisst das,daß seine minutiöse und bohrend-insistierende Arbeitsweise, die die geschaute Wirklichkeit brutal interpretiert,
eine hinter den Dingen im Verborgenen liegende Welt aufzudecken versucht.
DAS GROSSE LEXIKON DER GRAPHIK, Tigris, Köln – 30. November 1988
DAS GROSSE LEXIKON DER GRAPHIK
Catalogue, Ninth of November Night – November 30, 1987
Installation between Museum Ludwig and the Dome of Cologne
With the Installation "Ninth of November Night" Gottfried Helnwein wanted ti remind us of the "Reichskristallnacht", November 9th to 10th, 1938.
He has consciously foregone using documentary archive material.
He is chiefly interested in the attitude behind the catastrophe, the roots of the holocaust - the delusion that one is able to measure the worthiness or unworthiness of humans by the form of the nose and ears, by the hair and colour of the eyes.
Schroedel Schulbuchverlag – 30. November 1987
das Selbstportrait im Grundkurs Kunst
Material für den Sekundarbereich II
Albrecht Dürer, Rembrandt, Angelika Kaufmann, Caspar David Friedrich,Vincent van Gogh, Max Beckmann, Salvador Dali, Arnulf Rainer, Gottfried Helnwein.
Fotorealistischer Aufschrei, Gottfried Helnwein's Selbstportrait, 1983
"DER UNTERMENSCH ,Edition Braus, Heidelberg – November 30, 1987
One Man Show at the Museum of Modern Art, Strasbourg, 1988
Je est un autre, RIMBAUD
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.
GOTTFRIED HELNWEIN, Ninth November Night, Catalogue – November 30, 1987
INSTALLATION, "NINTH NOVEMBER NIGHT", AT THE MUSEUM LUDWIG
It was to our good fortune that Gottfried Helnwein also strove to break away from the museum and gallery sector in order to communicate with a larger public.
This appeared on a grand scale on the site between the cathedral and Museum Ludwig, and at a time of "photokina", with its hundreds of thousands of visitors. The 100 metre picture wall did not fail to hit its mark:
it induced bewilderment as well as aggressiveness.
After a few days numerous pictures had been slashed, one even stolen.
Gottfried Helnwein saw the exhibition as a process which would continue and be reflected in later presentations.
The pictures were not renewed, but patched up, so that this reminder of the persecution of Jewish people would bear the traces of a lack of insight and understanding in the present day.