Selected Authors
March 3, 2006
Lentos Museum of Contemporary Art, Linz
Essay for the catalogue"Face it" - The Art of Gottfried Helnwein
Nava Semel
Wounds of Memory
Helnwein - One man show at the Lentos Museum of Contemporary Art, Linz
"She is not as old as she seems, though age, at least in her case, is an elusive notion. In fact, it is her childhood that is fixated, and not out of nostalgia. True, it would take a daring leap of imagination to connect pudgy little hands to the body as it is now, or to visualize the dimples and the baby teeth. The little-girl-who-once-was thought: Maybe I am really dead. Because only dead people get pushed so deep down". (From: And the Rat Laughed, by Nava Semel). Helnwein is a great believer in the ability of art to pass emotional memory on, as a reminder of the past or mainly as a warning of what the future might hold, for humanity, as far as he is concerned, has not learnt its lesson. Is there atonement in his artistic endeavors? I prefer the Jewish concept of - tikkun, purification of the soul. It has a deeper meaning than the physical healing of scars, for it elevates us to the highest sphere of the spirit. The wounded girls close their eyes, but they are not blind. Behind their closed lids their gaze is clear and penetrating.
Nava Semel
Author, Playwright
Born in Jaffa and holds a MA in History of Art from the Tel Aviv University.
She is the author of thirteen books of fiction and four plays.
Her works include: Hat of Glass, the first Israeli book to focus on the children of Holocaust survivors. The book was translated into German, Italian and Romanian. Stories from the collection were published also in Great Britain, Spain, Albania, Turkey and China.
Becoming Gershona, winner of the National Jewish Book Award 1990 in the USA, was translated also into Italian, German, Romanian, and Dutch.
Flying Lessons was translated into English, German, Czech, Italian, Spanish, and Dutch.
Her monodrama The Child behind the Eyes, first produced in 1986, ran on the Israeli stage for 11 years. The play has also been produced by the BBC London, Radio France, Belgium, Spain, Ireland, Germany, Romania and Radio Austria where it won the "Best Radio Drama" award in 1996. On the stage, the play was produced in Rome, New York, Los Angeles, Prague and Sibui Theatre Festival in Romania. Currently the play is running at the Resita Theatre in Romania. An upcoming production in Turkish is due in the fall of 2005 by the National Theatre of Turkey in Ankara.
Her children's books include Who Stole the Show, winner of the Illustrated Book of the Israel Museum and cited at the "Ze'ev Award". It was published also in Italy and a television series based on the book was produced by the Israeli Second TV channel. Night Poems and The Courage to be Afraid - two collections of poetry for children on darkness and fears.
Other works of fiction include Bride on Paper - on the shortlist for the Youth German book award 2004, and Night Games focusing on Israelis in the time of crisis.
Her novel The Rat Laughs was published in Israel in 2001 to rave reviews and became a best seller. Her latest novel IsraIsland was published in September 2005.

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