Sélection d'articles2009-2008
14 avril 2009
Michal Szyksznian
Artist Gottfried Helnwein Finds Freedom in LA, Part I
HELNWEIN: "LA is a strange place. A few blocks from my studio the streets are filled with thousands of homeless people, huddling on sidewalks or staggering through the streets - and from time to time some lost soul is gesticulating franticly and shouting at invisible enemies. I live and work in the so called “artist district” in downtown Los Angeles - an innocent little island with old warehouses and brick buildings that look like leftovers from a noir movie set, inhabited by artists, photographers, musicians, skinny girls with nice tattoos, freaks and Japanese students from SCI-Arc (The Southern California Institute of Architecture) placed in the former Santa Fe Rail Road freight-depot, a concrete block one-quarter of a mile long. The heart of the artist district is the Groundworks Cafe in a red-painted building across from the old, run-down American Hotel where Bukowski once wrote the screenplay for Barfly. The air is heavily polluted from all these diesel trucks that blow their unfiltered exhaust gases through their erected chrome-pipes into the air of downtown. When I touch my paintings my hands gets black from the layers of black dust that sets on everything."
"But, that’s only one ride in the theme park that is LA. There is also little Tokyo, Chinatown, Mexico, Russia, Armenia, Koreatown, etc. - all together, more than 140 different ethnic groups and 224 different languages. Here you can find any religion that people ever dreamed up, from the Church of Satan to the Chassidic Jews wearing huge fur hats and tight caftans like their ancestors wore in Galicia 200 years ago, walking with their children on Shabbat under palm trees in the Californian sun.
In South Central, Black kids loiter at street corners with a magnum in their waistband, controlling the drug-trade. And, in the heavily-gated communities of the rich, private police officers in smart, black uniforms protect all the precious miracles that plastic surgery is creating these days. And, of course, there is that industry which has fabricated dreams for the whole world since 100 years ago: Hollywood.
All these different people live here in some kind of peaceful anarchy. LA is a city without a center and it has no memory - there is no past and no future, only the here and now. It is like a raw wound that nobody cares to bandage. I never felt so free in my life. I think it’s a freedom that comes from the fact that nobody gives a shit."
Gottfried Helnwein, quoted from an interview by Michal Szyksznian, 2009
Studio Downtown Los Angeles
View from the studio Los Angeles
In Part 1 of this interview with the Polish website Celebritarian.pl, world-renowned artist Gottfried Helnwein talks with writer Michal Szyksznian about the clash between artists and dictators, the mediocrity of society and how he dealt with the attempted destruction of his installation Ninth November Night in Germany.

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