Sélection d'articles
1 mars 2008
Artweek
Debra Koppman
Gottfried Helnwein
"I Walk Alone", Gottfried Helnwein, one man show at Natalie and James Thompson Art Gallery, San Jose State University
Gottfried Helnwein’s exhibition I Walk Alone is pretty unnerving, and that is his point. Large-scale photo-realistic paintings confront the viewer like a series of film stills forming a bizarre and disturbing sequence of nightmares. Using digital photography and computer-generated images combined with classical painting techniques, many of the images are only black and white, while others use one additional color, such as red, to dramatic and horrifying effect. The images might be seen as bits of individual stories, or pieced together in a variety of frightful ways, or seen as a generalized narrative of brutality and terror, in which innocence is perhaps relative. We are all implicated in Helnwein’s unfolding dramas.
Since the images both emerge from and reference photographs, they play with perceived reality, even while appearing as staged scenes. Connecting to theater in this way, the images then seem to be stand-ins for horrific occurrences, rather than photographically documented accounts. Storytelling of the most gruesome sort is evoked, using conventions of both theater and photography.
A small girl, wearing a white nightgown, stands near a bed covered in a white sheet. A small plastic doll lies on the bed, presumably tossed aside. The only color besides the photographic black and white is the red dripping down from her wrapped head and her wounded shoulder. Another small girl, blindfolded and dressed in a sleeveless white T-shirt and a white billowy skirt swirls about a blurry, darkened room, filled with a field of fallen figures. A semicircle of formally suited, male figures stand around a small table. The men’s faces are all distorted composites, many seeming to have some resemblance to Hitler. A small girl, sleeping perhaps, or dead, lies hanging off the edge of the table.
The images might be seen as bits of individual stories, or pieced together in a variety of frightful ways, or seen as a generalized narrative of brutality and terror, in which innocence is perhaps relative. We are all implicated in Helnwein’s unfolding dramas.

Gottfried Helnwein: I Walk Alone will be on view through April 4 at Natalie and James Thompson Art Gallery, San Jose State University, One Washington Square, San Jose.
I Walk Alone
mixed media (oil and acrylic on canvas), 2003
The Disasters of War 3
mixed media (oil and acrylic on canvas), 2007, 200 x 293 cm / 78 x 115''




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