"I'll never forget the sensation I had at the unveiling of Gottfried Helnwein's "Kindskopf" in the Russian Museum. And not just because this enormous canvas (six metres in height, four in breadth), well-known from reproductions, seemed to operate in a whole new way in the real, quasi-monumental space of the museum's "Concrete Hall". I realised that I was looking at the inner content of this innovative picture from a whole new point of view.
This new level of impact was also apparent on the pictorial-plastic level. What had seemed coldly technological, the aesthetics of hyperrealism, a mechanical aerographically-applied surface, proved to be living and breathing; a completely handcrafted pictorial texture.
In short, a work seen in the flesh at the right time and in the right place ("Kindskopf" was both created and first exhibited in an equally monumental church-like space - in the medieval Minoritenkirche Krems), providing an instructive example of Helnwein's deliberate strategy of interaction with the viewer.
Yet there was more to it than that. After all, modern art quite often offers an insight into the positive and negative manipulation of viewer perception. In the case of the Russian Museum's exhibition of "Kindskopf", however, it was circumstances that divulged (and I am sure not just for me) the direction of Helnwein's strategy."