Cork gallery hosts exhibition by controversial artist
Gottfried Helnwein, whose provocative work was vandalised while on display during the Kilkenny Arts festival in 2001, is to show a range of paintings most of which focus on the child.
Helnwein, who hosted the wedding last year of singer Marilyn Manson and burlesque stripper Dita Von Teese at his home Gorteen Castle, Tipperary, has in the past been criticised for using Nazi and religious imagery in his work.
A painting hanging on a wall of Kilkenny Castle containing such influences was spattered with red paint, while a photograph of a child was set alight in 2001. Among those believed to be attending the opening at the Fenton Gallery in Cork is dancer and multi-millionaire Michael Flatley. The exhibition contains a series of haunting paintings based on the child – a theme which has been central to his practice throughout his career. Art critics have described his characteristic presentation of the child with downcast closed eyes as compelling. Helnwein himself believes the wounded child represents a betrayal of innocence acting as a commentary on the exploitation of children in modern life and a symbol of a society that has become emotionally detached.
Gottfried Helnwein’s Modern Sleep runs at the Fenton Gallery, Wandesford Quay, Cork from September 16 to October 7.