Gottfried Helnwein is an Austrian artist whose work is focused on “innocence betrayed.” Inspired by the Holocaust and his childhood in Austria, much of his work portrays injured or emotionally scarred children. He uses different mediums, such as drawings, paintings (in watercolors as well as oils and acrylics), sculptures, photography, large art installations, and performances as well as his work in costume design.
In 2010 Helnwein designed the opera “The Child Dreams” for the Israeli Opera in Tel Aviv based on a play of the same name by Hanoch Levin, a famous Israeli playwright. Helnwein’s work on the opera is now being showcased in a new documentary, Gottfried Helnwein and the Dreaming Child which opened on Friday, November 23rd – shopping wasn’t the only thing happening on Black Friday! The documentary by director Lisa Kirk Colburn features behind-the-scenes footage of the set construction, rehearsals, choreography development, and the meetings between Helnwein and the Israeli Opera’s production group.
While the documentary seems to have fallen flat in reviews, which say that the film “does little to bring [the set and costume designs] to life,” and claim it “never achieves any real depth in its unabashedly admiring portrait,” his depressing, pained but hauntingly beautiful artwork is definitely worth two-thumbs-up. Check out some of our favorite pieces from Helnwein below.
The Flesh is Weak (2003)
The Red Gun (2000)
The Murmur of the Innocents 1 (2009)
Sleep 9 (2004)
The Debut (1987)
The last Child (2008)
What do you think of Gottfried Helnwein’s works?