3. Arbeiten von 1986 - 1999: Öl und Acryl auf Leinwand
"Epiphany" and other works on canvas
Julia Pascal New Statesman, UK 10. April 2006
Gottfried Helnwein's latest exhibition, "Face It", is the artist's first show in his native Austria since 1985. A retrospective of 40 works from the 1970s to the present, it is more shocking than the Royal Academy's infamous "Sensation" of 1997. Helnwein aims to disturb not with, say, an elephant-dung Madonna, as Chris Ofili did then, but with a far more controversial Virgin.
Of all his paintings, the most disturbing is Epiphany (1996), for which he dips into our collective memory of Christianity's most famous birth. This Austrian Catholic Nativity scene has no magi bearing gifts. Madonna and child are encircled by five respectful Waffen SS officers palpably in awe of the idealised, kitsch-blonde Virgin. The Christ toddler, who stands on Mary's lap, stares defiantly out of the canvas. Helnwein's baby Jesus is Adolf Hitler.
mixed media (oil and acrylic on canvas), 1996, Denver Art Museum
Mitchell Waxman The Jewish Journal Los Angeles 23. Juli 2004
Some of 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 countries...
William Burroughs said that the American revolution begins in books and music, and political operatives implement the changes after the fact. To this maybe we can add art. And Helnwein's art might have the capacity to instigate change by piercing the veil of political correctness to recapture the primitive gesture inherent in art.
2006, at the 'Radar' exhibition, Denver Art Museum
RADAR, The Denver Art Museum
Kent and Vicki Logan donated over 200 artworks to the Denver Art Museum's Modern and Cpontemporary Art department. 7. Oktober 2006 - 15. Juli 2007
Gottfried Helnwein's Epiphany (Adoration of the Magi) is a strange takeoff on a traditional New Testament theme in art. The work depicts a Madonnalike mother displaying her baby to attentive Nazi officers, Painted in hyperrealist grisaille with chiaroscuro effects, the work resembles an old documentary photograph made huge. The eerie, sinister overtones are unmistakable. Who is this mother? What do these officers want with her and her child? What kind of official paper might the officer on the left hold in his hand and what might be its result? Helnwein, characteristically, presents us with an ambiguous, haunting image and leaves us to wonder about its meaning...
With its huge size, hyperrealist style, and disturbing content, this unsettling work bestows a psychological anxiety accompanied by a strong magnetic pull. Confronting it, we tend to stare-entranced by both its beauty and its seductive, malevolent overtones...