Wolfgang Herzig standing under the tent on his completed Shooting Gallery for 1987 Luna Luna park

Wolfgang Herzig

Wolfgang Herzig’s contribution to the 1987 Luna Luna park was the Shooting Gallery Game

For Luna Luna, Wolfgang Herzig designed a shooting gallery game in the shape of a winged altar where visitors could shoot at multicolored butterflies.

Artist

Wolfgang Herzig

Attraction

Shooting gallery game

Born

1941, Austria

Herzig is best known for his tragic-comic paintings of Viennese high society

He probes the mundane and absurd qualities of everyday life in his paintings of individuals, couples, and social scenes

He is one of six artists in the loosely assembled Wirklichkeiten (“Realities”) group, along with Luna Luna artist Peter Pongratz

Wolfgang Herzig.

Interior: Wolfgang Herzig, Shooting gallery. Luna Luna, Hamburg, Germany, June-July, 1987.

In his paintings of daily social exchanges and interactions, Wolfgang Herzig heightens the absurdity of the everyday. He depicts lovers in various states of undress, stout bathers, fur-swaddled women, and elegantly dressed men in theatrical and vivid scenes that exaggerate the mundane, crude, and bizarre qualities of life.

Fairground view: Wolfgang Herzig, Shooting gallery. Luna Luna, Hamburg, Germany, June-July, 1987.

Wolfgang Herzig painting his shooting gallery. Luna Luna, Hamburg, Germany, June-July, 1987.

Herzig partook in the 1968 exhibition Wirklichkeiten (“Realities”) at the Vienna Secession, which gathered six artists—Martha Jungwirth, Kurt Kocherscheidt, Franz Ringel, Robert Zeppel-Sperl, and Luna Luna contributor Peter Pongratz—as a loosely assembled collective of the same name. The Realities group rejected the primarily Minimalist, Conceptualist, and Fantastic Realist styles that were predominant in the era, in favor of a contrarian approach to painting that transcended any single style. Herzig crafted psychologically charged scenes of characters in cramped and compressed pictorial spaces, among them his tragic-comic portraits satirizing Viennese elites and politicians. One prominent example is Great Company (1970-71), a large panel painting depicting a group of men in neckties and tails and women in voluptuous evening gowns, all frozen in stiff poses and crowded into a geometric background.

Herzig crafted psychologically charged scenes of characters in cramped and compressed pictorial spaces.

For Luna Luna, Herzig designed a shooting gallery in the shape of a winged altar where visitors shot at multicolored butterflies. His take on the popular fairground game features a banner at its center which reads, Schießen sei nur dann erlaubt wenn es keinen Frieden raubt (“Shooting is allowed only if it does not rob peace”), evoking the political instability of postwar Europe. The gallery is flanked by a series of four panels with scenes of men and women in sleek costumes and rigid poses, many looking straight at viewers with an impenetrable gaze.

Interior: Wolfgang Herzig, Shooting Gallery. Luna Luna, Hamburg, Germany, June-July, 1987.

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In the original Luna Luna book, translated and reissued for the first time since 1987.