Goetz Valien

creator of hand-painted movie posters & Virtual realism / pop-philosophy / conceptual DADAist

Austria / Germany

‚Joker‘. ‚Black Swan‘. ‚Once upon a Time in Hollywood‘. „Django unchained‘. ‚The hateful Eight‘. ‚Lone Ranger‘. With huge billboards for movies like the ones mentioned various cinemas in Berlin still secure for eye-catching announcements. These giant reproductions (sometimes 30 feet high or wide!) don’t come in the form of digital prints, they are hand-painted on canvasses! Advertising films this way was common up until the last decade of the 20th century. Nowadys (in tune with the shrinking numbers of motion picture houses) the makers of monumental movie posters are on the wane - worldwide. But there’s always an exception to the rule.

Goetz Valien

creator of hand-painted movie posters & Virtual realism / pop-philosophy / conceptual DADAist

Austria / Germany

Goetz Valien
Goetz Valien | © Goetz Valien (private)

„Last Man Painting“. These three words were enough for ‚exberliner‘, the English-speaking city-mag in Gemany’s capital, to describe Goetz Valien. The Austrian-born Berliner who has been painting those billboards for the past 30 years is considered one of the best of his craft in this dying profession. Mr. Valien (* 1960 in Kitzbuehel, Austria) was trained by studying painting from 1980 to 1985 at the ‚University of Applied Arts‘ in Vienna and has been working as a freelance movie poster painter in Berlin since 1992. Originally he had the idea to get enrolled in the renowned German Film and Television Academy Berlin (Deutsche Film und Fernsehakademie Berlin/DFFB) but was not taken up. Being married and having his first child, the artist (who studied philosophy) was looking for a way to make money. Goetz Valien decided to take up painting again, heard of two older film-billboard-painters on the brink of retirement and the rest is history. Since March, 26th, 1992 the man has painted the figurative, realistic part (not the lettering) of about 3.000 of these huge posters (the first being for Steven Spielberg's 'Hook') - starting at roundabout two meters and up to nine meters plus in height or length. „I try to be as close to the original poster as possible, but become more abstract in a way“, he told ‚exberliner‘. „The more there are little differences in my paintings compared to the original image, the more people look a second time. That’s the main concern of advertising: how to get the attention of a viewer.” Most of the time Mr. Valien has to work in parts (because of the final product’s size) and on very short notice because cinemas often change their programme quickly when audience attendance figures are low. To paint with much speed as possible, he uses a projector, airbrushes and spray guns.

Besides his commissioned work the maker by the artist name of V:Alien creates art of his own. „The work of the artist is characterized by a virtuoso objectivity which he calls „virtual realism“ and is fed by a tightly woven network of references into popular culture and the history of painting,“ curator Marc Wellmann writes on the site of ‚Haus am Luetzowplatz‘/Berlin that staged an exhibition of Goetz Valien’s creative output. „The works on display are all large formats with a high visual appeal. Valien has mastered the techniques of creating perspective illusions as well as means borrowed from advertising. His constructed imagery – in some cases also re-enactments of famous masterpieces – ultimately aim not only at the eye, but also at the brain as an essential organ of reception.“

The artist, who considers himself a 'picture painter' and has exhibited in Berlin (Germany), London (GB) as well as Miami (US), describes his art that way: „All of this (cinema and virtual realism) could be summarised as "POP-PHILOSOPHY" or even as a 'permanent provisional arrangement'. 'CONCEPT-DADA'. It is and always has been the balancing act of divine holiness - IT in humility, using myself only as a serving medium, letting myself work in hedonistic earthly (neoliberal-capitalist) being-there, often with a cryptic smile. The transparency of the light is one of the secrets. In other words - the pictures found me to expose them, I just had to keep at it and work.“

Goetz Valien lives and works in Berlin (Germany).


Interview March 2023

Berlin’s last man painting huge movie billboards and more: „I have not the slightest need to give the potential of wonder away for curious autopsies!“

An extraordinary, well-founded and understandable explanation by Goetz Valien regarding his impossibility of answering this site's common questionnaire:

„Exactly what you ask is not meant to be put into words. - IT eludes, falsifies itself - bursts like a soap bubble whose primal property is to remain 'sacred' (untouchable), precisely not to be nailed down or defined detective-like with the rational-verbal brain, sorry. Sleepwalkers, dreamers and geniuses should not be awakened....

·         When David Lynch was advised to go to psychotherapy and dared to do so, his first question was whether this could change something in his creativity and inner world. The psychiatrist or psychologist replied: "Certainly!" David Lynch turned around, thanked him for the sincere answer and left.

·         Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart would have blurted out, Tourette-like, "eat, fuck, shit trallala!" and laughed out loud

·         Jesus would have been crucified for it.

·         Siegfried would have been murdered in the exact place of Hagen.

·         "The Man Who Fell To Earth" (1976, director: Nicolas Roeg, starring David Bowie) would have been exploited and disemboweled to mediocre depravity.

I am an artist and paint from and with the potential of wonder and have not the slightest need to give it away for curious autopsies!“

Kind regards, Goetz Valien


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