Artists / Gallery
Gottfried Helnwein is one of the most important Austrian artists internationally. He deals with the themes of pain, injury and violence, touching on taboo and irritating themes of recent history. The depiction of the child is still the central theme of his work: he became known in the 1970s, especially through his hyper-realistic pictures of wounded, bandaged children. Even the motifs of American popular culture such as Disney comic figures take on threatening forms in Helnwein's pictures. His self-portraits show the artist as a subject and tortured person. The confrontation with National Socialism is also a central theme of his work.
Gottfried Helnwein studied from 1965 on at the "Höhere Graphische Lehr- und Versuchsanstalt" of Vienna together with Manfred Deix and Josef Bramer. In 1969 Helnwein began his studies at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna under Rudolf Hausner, one of the most important representatives of "Fantastic Realism". Helnwein's work was strongly influenced by Hausner's technical brilliance.
Helnwein works with the most diverse techniques and stylistic devices. In addition to drawing, watercolour, acrylic and oil painting, since the 1980s, photography has been an important medium, often in conjunction with performance. Since the 1990s the artist has concentrated on digital photography, videos and large-format installations in public space, mostly with social or socio-political concerns, in addition to painting.
On the occasion of his 65th birthday, the Albertina Collection of Prints and Drawings dedicated an extensive retrospective to him. Gottfried Helnwein lives and works in Ireland and Los Angeles.