Helnwein is one of the most renowned yet also most controversial artists in the world. Recurring motifs in Helnwein's process of artistic creation are violence, pain, and injury. These are illustrated, for example, by his self-portraits with a bandaged head and wide-open mouth. The artist confronts taboo and emotional topics in recent history - National Socialism.
Born in Vienna, Helnwein studied at the Academy of Fine Arts, choosing to implement a broad range of techniques into his oeuvre. Along with watercolor, acrylic, and oil painting, photography has become one of his most important media.
“For me, art is a weapon with which I can hit back.” Helnwein’s art knows no taboos. His works touch the viewer deeply, possibly even going so far as to evoke disgust. In any case, the observer will not be left cold.
William Burroughs, also photographed by Helnwein, once said that the American revolution began with books and music. It would be possible to add the fine arts to that list. Helnwein’s art could indeed have the inherent capacity to initiate change by penetrating the shroud of political correctness and reconquering the art of innate primitive actions.
Albertina, Wien 2013
Museo Nacional de San Carlos
Mexico City, 2012
Crocker Art Museum, Sacramento 2011
Friedman Benda Gallery, N.Y.
Modernism, San Francisco 2009
Galerie Rudolfinum, Prague 2008
Lentos Museum, Linz, 2006
Ludwig Galerie Schloss Oberhausen, 2005
Palace of Legion of Honor, San Francisco, 2004
Museum of Tolerance, Los Angeles, 2003
Robert Sandelson Gallery, London, 2000
Wäinö Altonen Museum, Turku, Finnland, 1998
State Russian Museum, St. Petersburg, 1997
and many more.