Catalogue for the Installation in the Dominican Church, Krems, 13.6. - 31.8. 1999 Peter Zawrel Director of the Museum of Lower Austria
Apokalypse, one man show and Installation by Gottfried Helnwein at the Dominican Church in Krems
Only in this way was Helnwein able to trigger the shock that he intended, a shock with a possible healing effect whose first target was the repression of the greatest trauma of our century. The repression of National Socialism, the Austrian people complicity in it and its consequences had been declared an official policy in Austria. In this way the generations born after 1945 had no chance to deal with the barbaric, neither with its outbreak a few years earlier nor with its lingering latent presence.
Everything had become harmless again. The revelation occurred only in 1986 when Kurt Waldheim became President of Austria and a "case" that was discussed world-wide. Based on this specifically Austrian situation Helnwein developed a visual language of apocalyptic vision that can be understood all over the world. The beautiful and the ugly, the fear of the terrible and the power of its fascination, the clearly recognisable and that which cannot be interpreted but lurks outside the painting as well as outside the nursery door, and more closely intertwined in these pictures than those of any other living artist.