Gottfried Helnwein makes statement against war and terror with 2018 artistic wrapping of the Ringturm!
In 2018 it is once again the turn of an Austrian artist to design the wrapping of the Ringturm in central Vienna. Born in the Austrian capital and known for his controversial works, Gottfried Helnwein is making an impassioned plea against violence, terror and fear for the Wiener Städtische Versicherungsverein initiative. “In 2018 – the year in which Austria marks the centenary of the First Republic – we deliberately chose a world-renowned Austrian artist. Gottfried Helnwein is one of our country’s leading contemporary artists,” explained Günter Geyer, Chairman of the Managing Board of Wiener Städtische Versicherungsverein.
The work: “I saw this”
On the front of the Ringturm, a girl with her blonde hair tied back tightly is holding a machine gun with the Danube Canal in her sights. The rear of the building features an image of a city ablaze before the eyes of a larger-than-life manga character. The background shows people against the backdrop of a wall of flames and smoke rising high into the air. Specially commissioned for the wrapping of the Ringturm, “I saw this” is a two-part composition by Gottfried Helnwein.
He sees his work as a visual indictment of terror and violence. “The steady stream of negative headlines on terrorist attacks and war that confront us in the media only achieves one thing: feelings of helplessness and bewilderment. When art addresses the horrific, the effect is the exact opposite,” according to Gottfried Helnwein. He claims never to have seen a person become downcast after viewing a picture by Hieronymus Bosch or Francisco de Goya. “Art robs death of its power. The aesthetic transcends and relativises the inescapability of horror,” in Helnwein’s view.