Born 1965 in Salzburg/AUSTRIA.

Since 1991 I fully devote my time to the arts, leaving behind my previous profession as a “digital manipulator” of advertising visuals. Quickly understanding that a wide horizon inspires my work I started to explore different urban environments.
Over the last 25 years I have learned a lot about my individual, conscious and subconscious approaches to values and emotions that influence my thinking. These conclusions about my inner priorities, threats to my ideals and anxieties have pushed me to search for ways to express the conflict of imminence and protection.
It started with natural rubber and attempted to compress it between metal pieces. Ultimately the seemingly soft rubber would succeed over the “predominant” metal and altered its shape.
From there I started to coat valuable, random or frightening items with liquid rubber to either eliminate the danger, change the meaning or protect the vulnerable. An online-based opportunity for visitors to remotely initiate a coating session marked my first step towards interactive art projects.
My search continued on to photographic media choosing “almost” random images from the web. I then digitally enhanced them and put them into different environments, looking for controversy of beauty and war or harmony and destruction, adding an additional layer by partially “coating” the people’s skin with writings. The writings are subconscious without literal meaning or poetry. I try to channel possible thoughts of people in pictures on to their skin without deliberately editing the meaning. They symbolize a different awkward threat we have to deal with everyday in form of media and information overflow. At same time the visually appealing coat of letters rather wraps the individuals into my personal armour of words.
My photographic exploration of invasion continued with digitally altering graphic relations in interpersonal situations, increasing or decreasing the size of the aggressor versus the defender. This work sometimes left me astonished by the fact of how much people trust in the power of images and how impossible scenarios can be, while people still think it truly happened.
Still partially unsatisfied with only 2 dimensional solution of photography, I started to look into video installations, initially expressing my ideas in a simplistic/minimalist, but very meaningful way. This is how I came up with my project “Rocket Fish.” A little fish symbolizing men’s everlasting strive to rise above the ordinary. The stubborn aim to achieve the seemingly impossible. Endless attempts without reason or eventually the only path to transcendence?

The next project I called “The Refuge”. A concept based on the fascination of secrecy. The lack of people is part of creating the seclusion. Any reflection and correlation with humanity purely originates from the play with what has been left behind or the meaningful placement of elements seemingly added over the course of time. The “house” (home, hotel, refuge, …) itself, neon signs, strange wild postings, drawings or graffiti and the environment are all “lit” intentionally in obscure ways to create the specific atmosphere I desire.

Following this concept are the “sceneries”, virtual landscapes waiting for a discoverer. Hidden in this beautiful places, you can discover many things, related to the man being. it is like people have disappeared from earth and left strange and normal stuff behind. It is yours to create the story, all the necessary information is there. Above all it is the secrecy and the limitation of obvious information, which should inspire to go for a journey into a mysterious world.

My latest series „temples“ is reacting to what happens around us. religions are changing, they always were. they disappear and others pop up. it is just a matter of time. but what is your religion now ? are you still surfing on the ruins of our history, or did you step into the new faith generation. do you „believe“ in yourself ? more than you should, bringing it up to a big ME, ME, ME ? are you full of desire, dying for sex, money, luxury, fashion or even the arts ? is it never enough ? do you literally kneel in front of your desires, do you feel lonely without them ? go close and watch the temples, maybe find yourself, maybe your biggest enemy. and then, if you think you understood, start thinking the opposite.

Helmut Grill