Installation "Kindskopf" (Child's Head) in the Minoriten Church in Krems, Niederösterreichisches Landesmuseum (Museum of Lower Austria)
Helnwein paints a 6x4 m (18x12 feet) child's head for the apse of the early Gothic basilica. Ten days before the opening he has his children Amadeus, Ali Elvis and Mercedes paint large-format canvases which he then arranges in the basilica
Kindskopf (Head of a Child)
oil and acrylic on canvas, 1991, 600 x 400 cm / 236 x 157''
"KINDSKOPF", HELNWEIN'S PLEA FOR A DIFFERENT CHILDHOOD
1991 Catalog, Museum of lower Austria Peter Zawrel Chief curator, Museum of lower Austria
The auratic face of a child, six metres high, four metres wide, hanging in the triumphal arch of a medieval church, surrounded by dozens of canvases in the standard size of 200 by 140 cm that are mounted on the church's pillars and walls show heads and fantasy creatures which only on closer inspection may be easily recognized as children's drawings - once more Helnwein upsets traditional structures of perception in a number of ways, including the expectations that visitors have of a Helnwein exhibition. This is signalled already by the title "KINDSKOPF", which in addition to being a reference to the theme depicted (the head of a child) refers to the ironically serious self-representation of the artist (in German "Kindskopf" is a somewhat condescending colloquialism for an adult acting in childish ways), similar to Helnwein's earlier catalogue title "Subhuman" ("Untermensch") of 1988.