Gottfried Helnwein Retrospective

There’s currently a retrospective of Gottfried Helnwein‘s work at the Albertina museum.

[Trigger Warning: Violence]

The exhibition starts with one of Helnwein’s earliest piece – an water color he submitted as an entrance exam for art school and moves through his career, though not completely chronologically.

The exhibition is really short – we were through in less than an hour. And while I wanted a drink several times while I walked through it, at no point did I hit the point of museum overload as I usually do during these exhibitions. So afterwards we walked through the rest of the Albertina, looking at Gunter Damisch’s work and the permanent exhibition. When we had finished that, our brains were sizzling, though.

In any case, it’s an excellent exhibition, giving you a great overview over his work – from his water colors to his photography to his hyperrealist paintings. Easy entertainment it is not. But it’s great.


After the jump some of my favorite images, as usual. [Taken from here.]

gottfried-helnwein-selbstprotraet_2[Self Portrait]

helnwein_mutter[Mother, Is It You?]

helnwein_murmurofinnocents[The Murmur of Innocents – which is a whole series made of awesome]

helnwein_sleep1helnwein_sleep[Sleep – another series that is just a thing of beauty]

helnwein_thedisastersofwar[The Disasters of War – again, a series that is really interesting]

helnwein_untitled helnwein_untitled1[Untitled, both of them]


helnwein_IWalkAlone[I Walk Alone]

helnwein_righteousman[Righteous Man]

helnwein_angelssleeping[Angels Sleeping – a series where he painted deformed children from 200 year old anatomical exhibits]

helnwein_TheChildDreams[The Child Dreams]

helnwein_48portraits[48 Portraits – I loved the story behind this. Apparently some dudebro (Gerhard Richter) painted 48 portraits of influential people. All men, of course. Painted in blue tones. So Helnwein painted 48 portraits of heroines. In red tones. And they are glorious.]

helnwein_lebensunwertesleben[Worthless Life – this was painted as a reaction to a quote by Dr Gross in the fucking 70s, where he said that during the Nazi time, no child ever got a poison injection – they only mixed the poison in their food. And nobody flinched when he said that. It was only after Helnwein published this picture in a big magazine that people started talking and Gross had to face consequences.]

helnwein_sundaychild[Sunday Child]

Summarizing: An exhibition very much worth seeing.

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