Using hyper-realistic techniques, a lot of Helwein's work focus on portraying little children, especially girls, in unusual and provocative contexts. Helwein creates strong and a little disturbing images, sometimes portraying girls injured, in bandages, bleeding or in blood pools, sometimes showing girls holding heavy weapons or other surreal contexts.
According to Harry S. Parker III, Director of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco (where in 2004 happened an exposition of Gottfried Helnwein's work with a retrospective):
"For Helnwein, the child is the symbol of innocence, but also of innocence betrayed. In today's world, the malevolent forces of war, poverty, and sexual exploitation and the numbing, predatory influence of modern media assault the virtue of children."
The hyper-realistic paintings of Gottfried Helnwein are dark and grim because two aspects. First, because the use of light in paintings, creating interactions of light and shadows that imbue the paintings with a dark feeling. And second, because the paintings show a reality that you don't see everyday (or pretend you don't see). A dark reality that exists, but we choose not to see. The paintings also show sometimes a surreal aspect, when Helwein creates metaphors in his works mixing little girls portrayed in a realistic manner side by side with fantasy elements, as cartoons characters.
Using an amazing technique, it is hard to distinguish the paintings from photos. Helnwein's works are that kind of art that are provocative, sometimes disturbing and hard to see, but at the same time, they are so interesting and fascinating, the kind of image that it's hard to not to see and keep watching.
Appreciate the amazing hyper-realistic, surreal and provocative paintings of injured girls by Gottfried Helnwein:
The murmur of the innocents - war, blood and little girls, mixing innocence and violence
Injured girl in bandages
The disasters of war - bleeding girl
War, violence and animes
Little and armed
Los Caprichos - Bandages and blood
Murmur of the innocents - painting and detail
Paintings as vintage photos, with some surreal details
The painting of a little girl and it's model
Images from Gottfried Helnwein's website. Indicated by The Suite World - She Looks So Real.