"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.”...
|Art-critic, Oakland Post||
"An artist with conscience, a fearless man with a penchant for profoundly bizarre and complex, meaningful images, Gottfried Helnwein is making a grand re-entry to San Francisco. His work was exhibited here four years ago when his freaky mixed-media portrait of Mickey Mouse - "Mouse I" - was part of the SF Museum of Modern Art's "The Darker Side of Playland - Childhood Imagery."
"Kinderporträts, Schmerz, Missbrauch und Gewalt, empfunden von einer nachgeborenen Generation. Sein ganzes Lebenswerk hat Helnwein diesem Thema gewidmet, eine eigene Bildsprache dafür gefunden, Kämpfe dafür ausgestanden. Er hat das Kinderleid aus dem Persönlichen ins Universelle gehoben, es über die Zeit verfolgt, bis zu den Schulmördern, den Kinderkriegern."
"Helnweins Bilder wirken!"
|Gwen F. Chanzit|
|School of Art and Art History, University of Denver||
"Helnwein’s subject matter involves the complexities of the human condition. His disturbing yet provocative images of physically and emotionally wounded children have been seen as metaphors for larger global issues. He portrays the innocence of adolescence against the backdrop of shameful historical events like the Holocaust to highlight the fragility of humanity in an unstable world. Like Wong from Asia and Cindy Sherman from the United States, Helnwein offers up dramatic scenarios featuring youthful protagonists that beg a viewer to complete the equation.
|Professor for Art History, Vienna||
"Helnwein will most certainly attain an appropriate place within the lively history of Austrian art and scandal, which includes the works of Schiele, Gerstl, Schoenberg and others, as well as, the "Viennese Action group"
|Deutscher Historiker, Berliner Wissenschaftssenator||
"...Immendorf als "deutscher" Geschichtsmaler, Helnwein als österreichischer."
"Helnwein likes to linger at boundaries.
|art-critic, San Francisco||
"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. By consciously mingling his themes of purity and culpability, Helnwein has presented viewers with a disorienting yet provocative way of apprehending both history and suffering."
|San Francisco Chronicle Art-Critic||
"Helnwein's preoccupation with the dark side of modern history, including its abuse of images, has never left him. He did a whole series of paintings so dark as to appear imageless. But he intended them not as mirrors of dark times but as counterthrusts to the aggressive reach of so much contemporary culture.
|The Washington Post||
"The viewer is lured into pondering whether the lone figure of a child in a muted pink dress is asleep on the ground, or has been hit by a roadside in a puddle, or on white sand in the sun?
|Director, Museum of Lower Austria||
"Helnwein's work is perfectly executed proof of the mastery of all the available means to outdo the reality in depiction.
|artcritic, Flash Art||
"Gottfried Helnwein is a brave virtuoso of versatility. In his work, he forces us to confront, via his visual wit, brio, and candor, the human face of violence and angst.
|Professor of Sociology, California State University||
"Look at Helnwein's painting under Visual Sociology. What was Helnwein saying? Why was he willing to offend. Why did one of my students make a giant box that when opened had a lovely smiling face inside that said "F^&* the Patriot Act"?? Isn't that a lot like what Helnwein and Kiefer and Beuys were doing? Maybe saying "wake up and look at what you're doing?"
|Senator Martin Mansergh|
|Irish politician, architect of the "Good Friday-agreement"||
"Austria has been one of the main hubs of European culture, especially in music and art. The artists are not always conventional or conformist. Like the recent Nobel Prize winner for literature, Elfriede Jelinek, some of Helnwein’s work, which takes an uncomfortable look at Austria’s past and the unhealthily close relationship between Church and Sate in the Nazi era, has caused controversy.
|Austrian minister for education and culture||
"Your paintings have left a deep impact on me.
|Dr. Margot Käßmann|
|Chair of the Council of the Evangelical Church in Germany||
"In a moving exhibition at the Wilhelm Busch Museum in Hannover, paintings of the Austrian artist Gottfried Helnwein are on view. One of his paintings shows a girl with a rascally face wearing an armband for the blind, with her tongue sticking out. At first I smiled. If you keep looking at this painting, you will see that the girl has blood running down the inside of her legs. The child obviously was abused, force was used against her... yes, children are vulnerable. Childhood can be terrible, when children are at the mercy of someone.
|Vice-speaker of German Parliament||
"Helnwein's Images are shocking - may it be through drastic depiction of the opressing or opressed human being, or through the deconstruction of conventional and accommodating pictures.
"The theme of violence and the theme “he as victim” proceed from Beckmann’s early work from 1907 till today.
"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."
Quotes by Helnwein
Mixed Media on Canvas
Installations and Performances
Theatre and Film
Texts by Helnwein
Quotes by Helnwein