The central theme in Gottfried Helmwein’s artistic 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.
Helnwein 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 pictures are a constant silent appeal against collective denial and repression.
William Burroughs said about Helnwein's work: "It is the function of the artist to evoke the experience of surprised recognition: to show the viewer what he knows but does not know that he knows. -Helnwein is a master of surprised recognition."
The Art of Gottfried Helnwein continues a powerfull artistic tradition, whose foremost protagonists are Francisco de Goya, Pieter Breughel, Hieronymus Bosch, Matthias Gruenewald, Egon Schiele and Francis Bacon.