Austrian artist Gottfried Helnwein's work is collected by many of the world's leading museums, including the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. He has been presented in significant one-man exhibitions in such venues as the State Russian Museum in St. Petersburg, the Albertina Museum, Vienna, the Stadtmuseum Munich, the Fine Arts Museum in Otaru, Japan, the Musee' De L' Elysee, Lausanne in Switzeland and others.
He is currently preparing exhibitions for 2004 at the Fine Arts Museum San Francisco and the Fine Arts Museum in Beijing, China.
Mr. Helnwein, born after World War II and not a Jew, became aware during childhood of Austria's and Germany's active involvement in the hatred and atrocities of Nazism, and chose to speak out publicly and through his art, lest a country forget the past, forgive itself and repeat its errors.
1988, 50 years after the infamous "Kristallnacht" Helnwein erected a 100 meter long wall of pictures in the city center of Cologne, between the Ludwig Museum and the Cathedral to commemorate this night.
He confronted the passers-by with larger-than-life children's faces in a seemingly endless row – children lined up as though “to be sorted”.
The central theme in Gottfried Helnwein’s work is the human being. As a victim but also as a perpetrator. No other German-speaking artist of the post-war generation has so hauntingly dealt with the National Socialistic legacy and such issues as fascism, violence and intolerance.
He has developed his own provocative, disturbing and to some extent shocking visual language in which its passion above all is dedicated to the weakest of the victims: the children.
His images are a constant silent appeal against collective denial and repression.
Helnwein's installation "Ninth November Night- Selektion" has been shown in many German cities, amongst them Berlin and Cologne but also in Russia, Switzeland, Japan and Ireland.
The screening of his brief documentary, "Ninth November Night" at the Museum of Tolerance comes at a time so in need of its message of remembrance and tolerance.
He currently lives in Los Angeles and in the Republic of Ireland (where he is working on a portrait of Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber for the National Portrait Gallery in London).
His art installations in Public spaces throughout the world include monumental images - some of them several stories high, which have been exhibited in Los Angeles, Berlin, Vienna and recently in the city of Kilkenny in Ireland, where he showed huge pictures of Irish children, which covered many of the tallest buildings in the city.
Helnwein has a studio in the Arts district in downtown, Los Angeles.