Armonia International Foundation of Arts
GOTTFRIED HELNWEIN - ONE MAN SHOW
Caserma Cosenz - Gaeta
Sede Legale: Via dei Gracchi, 58 - oo192 Roma C.F. 97414750584
Executive Office: Complesso Leonardo, Via Appia Km.136,3 o4o24 Gaeta
Tel: +39.0771 712481 / +39.333 1093341
Fax: +39.0771 472334
"Helnwein is one of the few exciting painters we have today."
Friedman Benda Gallery, New York
PETER FRANK TALKS WITH GOTTFRIED HELNWEIN
On the occasion of Helnwein’s Solo Show “I Was a Child” at Friedman Benda NY
My first paintings were little watercolors of wounded, disfigured and bandaged children. I was incredibly naive at that time and completely uninformed about any aspect of traditional art; deliberately, because I rejected anything that came from my parents’ generation.
Once I learned about the Holocaust, I realized its implications, and saw the collective denial and amnesia in Austria at that time. Everything froze for me and I refused to move on from that point. Maybe due to my infantile obsession with ‘justness,’ something broke for me, and from then on I felt detached from my ancestors, their traditions and values.
I avoided all established cultural institutions like museums, and I never visited a gallery. I was a proud ‘orphaned’ street kid, glad to be ignorant. I only cared about the so-called ‘trivial arts’ like comics and rock music. In a way, I was privileged when I began painting because I was completely free. I had no influences from other artists and I had no goals regarding a career. I took cheap watercolors and started to paint. It was like talking to myself, I didn’t know where this would lead to and if anyone would ever notice my little paintings. I had no idea if they were any good either because I had nothing to compare them to.
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