Austrian-Irish artist Gottfried Helnwein, who presides between Ireland and Los Angeles, is vocal about his concerns relating to violence in modern society; in action movie and video games, the hero carries the biggest and baddest weapons, while in real life, people have been brutally killed in mass murders like the Holocaust, and in recent years, children have gone to school and been shot by other children. “For me, painting is just a way to strike back and force people to look at that. That’s my response to it,” Helnwein says in a new documentary about his work. Previously featured on our blog, the artist is well known for his controversial photo-realistic paintings, particularly of children, who are portrayed as bloodied and wielding guns against their toys and each other. They are even more impactful as a result of their size, usually ten times the real size of his young subjects. By painting children in a beautiful but unsettling way, he presents them simultaneously as symbols of innocence and evil. This concept is at the core of Helnwein’s new exhibition and retrospective “Between Innocence and Evil”. The exhibit features 33 artworks from different phases of Helnwein’s career in two different spaces: the Gallery-Legacy of Milica Zorić and Rodoljub Čolaković and the salon of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Belgrade, Serbia. These include his oil and acrylic painting series “Epiphany”, “The Murmur of the Innocents”, and “Disasters of War”, featured below.
Gottfried Helnwein’s “Between Evil and Innocence” is now on view through January 18th, 2016.