The artist Gottfried Helnwein created four enigmatic tableaus to precisely represent the very invisibility of this process. The tableaus carry clear echoes of both classical interpretations of the relationship between the subterranean, the sinister and the unconscious, and of Helnwein’s own wider oeuvre.
Painting is the mainstay of a body of work which has consistently combined a wary distance from the world of the museum and an affinity with the world of mass media. Helnwein employs a highly specific form of “reality” to depict such traditional subjects as portraits and extreme physical and psychological situations - not only in large-format panels but also in magazine and record covers, posters and stage sets. In all such situations, Helnwein works with the “power of images”, a power which he consciously and very skilfully evokes, although it is sometimes not easy for the viewer to decide whether the often dramatic scenes are intended to criticise or glorify the circumstances that they represent.