Harry Birkholz


" The Bransk Project "

The exhibition "Bransk Project" in Marcel Hastir's studio in Brussels in may 2014

The Bransk Project came about after the meeting of two kind and sensitive men, Chaim Shapiro and Harry Birkholz. Both born after the second World War, the second generation so to speak, each carrying within them the unbearable legacy of the Holocaust, often not able to use words to express their feelings. Their friendship was based on their natural affinities: an acute awareness of their past, both had been hippies, drawn even further together by their musical and spiritual backgrounds. The strength of their friendship was also borne of their differences. (...)

On the way back from NYC, Harry created the 'Bransk Project'. In a short period of time, from September to October 2009, feeling very inspired, Harry painted the five series of seven paintings. These paintings form the heart of the exhibition which Harry dreamt of realizing, before his sudden death in May 2011. The meeting and subsequent friendship of these two men shed light on the past and this in turn became a spark liberating Harry's artistic expression. (...)

Read the next : The Bransk Project and Bransk Project May 2014 Program


Bransk Project - Harry Birkholz


See the video-clips below :

To see : The slideshow's exhibition

The exhibition "Bransk Project" in Marcel Hastir's studio in Brussels

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" The Sound of NYC back to Tibet "

On the occasion of this retrospective we discovered thirty years of painting by the German artist, Harry Birkholz, a Belgian at heart who said: "I am NYC".

Harry Birkholz had the soul of a true musician and loved NYC, jazz music, avant-garde music as well as Rock & Roll which has its roots in blues music. Harry loved musicians and frequently sketched them while listening to his favorite tunes. Harry had a wide knowledge of music. He was a connoisseur and composed electronic music. We were able to listen to some of his pieces during this exhibition of his artwork.

In 1987 Harry created a monumental artwork. He created 49 oil paintings and gained inspiration from the "Tibetan book of the Dead". This work was exhibited for the first time at this exhibition. In Harry's work one can define the spiritual search of an artist who integrated daily meditation.


The Retrospective Harry Birkholz at Tour et Taxis
The exhibition was held from October 25th until November 11th 2012 at Tour & Taxis in Brussels. Olivier Kempen made it all possible.
Retrospective Harry Birkholz Tour & Taxis 2012 - click on the image
Retrospective Tour & Taxis 2012 Harry Birkholz - click on the image
Retrospective Tour & Taxis 2012 Harry Birkholz - click on the image
Retrospective Tour & Taxis 2012 Harry Birkholz - click on the image
Retrospective Tour & Taxis 2012 Harry Birkholz - click on the image
Retrospective Tour & Taxis 2012 Harry Birkholz - click on the image
Retrospective Tour & Taxis 2012 Harry Birkholz - click on the image
Retrospective Tour & Taxis 2012 Harry Birkholz - click on the image
Retrospective Tour & Taxis 2012 Harry Birkholz - click on the image
Retrospective Tour & Taxis 2012 Harry Birkholz - click on the image
Retrospective Tour & Taxis 2012 Harry Birkholz - click on the image
Retrospective Tour & Taxis 2012 Harry Birkholz - click on the image
Retrospective Tour & Taxis 2012 Harry Birkholz - click on the image
Retrospective Tour & Taxis 2012 Harry Birkholz - click on the image
Retrospective Tour & Taxis 2012 Harry Birkholz - click on the image
Retrospective Tour & Taxis 2012 Harry Birkholz - click on the image
Retrospective Tour & Taxis 2012 Harry Birkholz - click on the image
Retrospective Tour & Taxis 2012 Harry Birkholz - click on the image
Retrospective Tour & Taxis 2012 Harry Birkholz - click on the image
Retrospective Tour & Taxis 2012 Harry Birkholz - click on the image
Retrospective Tour & Taxis 2012 Harry Birkholz - click on the image
Retrospective Tour & Taxis 2012 Harry Birkholz - click on the image
Retrospective Tour & Taxis 2012 Harry Birkholz - click on the image

Collection 49 - detail

The 49 oil paintings inspired by the "Tibetan Book of the Dead " or Bardo Thödol.
Created in 1987.

Given Harry Birkholz's early interest in spirituality, he has read this text many times. The text speaks about the successive states of consciousness. It delves into the span between the moment of death and the consequential start of a new life. By listening to these instructions during the intermediary states, one can help the dying person and the dead free themselves of the eternal cycle of reincarnation and hopefully reach a higher more enlightened state of consciousness.

In a very contemporary manner and in the form of visions which are his own mental projections, the artist translated this inspirational text.

Collection 49 n°001 - click on the image

Collection 49 n°002 - click on the image

Collection 49 n°003 - click on the image

Collection 49 n°004 - click on the image

Collection 49 n°005 - click on the image

Collection 49 n°006 - click on the image

Collection 49 n°007 - click on the image

Collection 49 n°008 - click on the image

Collection 49 n°009 - click on the image

Collection 49 n°010 - click on the image

Collection 49 n°011 - click on the image

Collection 49 n°011 - click on the image

Collection 49 n°013 - click on the image

Collection 49 n°014 - click on the image

Collection 49 n°015 - click on the image

Collection 49 n°016 - click on the image

Collection 49 n°017 - click on the image

Collection 49 n°018 - click on the image

Collection 49 n°019 - click on the image

Collection 49 n°020 - click on the image

Collection 49 n°021 - click on the image

Collection 49 n°022 - click on the image

Collection 49 n°023 - click on the image

Collection 49 n°024 - click on the image

Collection 49 n°025 - click on the image

Collection 49 n°026 - click on the image

Collection 49 n°027 - click on the image

Collection 49 n°028 - click on the image

Collection 49 n°029 - click on the image

Collection 49 n°030 - click on the image

Collection 49 n°031 - click on the image

Collection 49 n°032 - click on the image

Collection 49 n°033 - click on the image

Collection 49 n°034 - click on the image

Collection 49 n°035 - click on the image

Collection 49 n°036 - click on the image

Collection 49 n°037 - click on the image

Collection 49 n°038 - click on the image

Collection 49 n°039 - click on the image

Collection 49 n°040 - click on the image

Collection 49 n°041 - click on the image

Collection 49 n°042 - click on the image

Collection 49 n°043 - click on the image

Collection 49 n°044 - click on the image

Collection 49 n°045 - click on the image

Collection 49 n°046 - click on the image

Collection 49 n°047 - click on the image

Collection 49 n°048 - click on the image

Collection 49 n°049 - click on the image


This monumental work of art consists of 49 oil paintings on cardboard, placed in a specific order. The work in its entirety measures 286 x 356 cm.


Tribute to the Rig Veda: ten books containing 1028 drawings in black or colored pencils, watercolors, acrylic and ink.

Harry Birkholz - Book 1.1
Book 1.1
Harry Birkholz - Book 1.2
Book 1.2
Harry Birkholz - Book 1.3
Book 1.3
Harry Birkholz - Book 1.4
Book 1.4
Harry Birkholz - Book 1.5
Book 1.5
Harry Birkholz - Book 1.6
Book 1.6
Harry Birkholz - Book 1.7
Book 1.7
Harry Birkholz - Book 1.8
Book 1.8
Harry Birkholz - Book 1.9
Book 1.9
Harry Birkholz - Book 1.10
Book 1.10


Harry Birkholz has continuously been reading this classic text of Indian literature since 1978 and has used it as a source of inspiration for his painting.

In 2002, Harry began the first of 10 books and presented his entire work relating to this theme on the occasion of the exhibition " Le Journal de la Lumière Lactée " in September 2006 in the L'Usine Gallery in Brussels.
His comments are as follows:
"As in the original Rig Veda, I sorted the 1028 Chants into the form of drawings constituting ten volumes. The sequence I adopted in developing each of these books is as follows: read one chant, draw it, read the next, draw it, etc… My initial idea was to create an imaginary writing which could slowly evolve, step by step from book 1 to book 10.

After creating a few pages, a particular dynamic development arose. In the first two volumes, a kaleidoscope of styles and techniques manifested themselves. Then starting from the third book, each volume revealed a different approach. The third book contains 105 portraits of various Vedic deities drawn exclusively in black ink.

Various landscapes resembling to states of consciousness comprise the fourth book.

In book five, using various ink color, I found myself working in an abstract manner. Occasionally, imaginary writing appears.

Latin scripture going from right to left exhibited itself in the sixth volume. This became a characteristic of the following books, as did paintings on canvas and paper.

One of the reasons I made these choice was that archeologists and historians agree that the first written traces of the Rig Veda appeared circa 1600 years before J.C. The oral tradition of the rig Veda is pre-dated by a thousand of years. According to our present knowledge, we date the rise of the Indus civilization to the fourth millennium before J.C. This includes with its two Metropolis Harappa and Mohenjo Daro located in which is today's eastern Pakistan. On certain seals discovered there, we see motifs which illustrate scenes from the Rig Veda. These glyphs not yet decoded, should be read from right to left. For this reason I am writing in the form of "mirror image".

The sixth book is painted with color pencils. In the seventh book, I only used black pencil. The eighth book contains the ninth mandala. It is entirely dedicated to the elixir of immortality: it is called the soma which later became a manifestation of God. It is described in reddish gold of various aspects. My painting of this considers this volume a union of mystic avant-garde.

Books nine and ten contain portrait drawings in black pencil. The first one shows the spontaneous representations of persons important in my life. The second and last volume contains portraits of early Vedic deities, known today under the names of Quantum, Protons, Electron, Quark, etc…".

Marianne Obozinski - February 2010

Hommage au Rig Véda - Harry Birkholz
Harry Birkholz Exhibition Usine 2006 - click on the image
Harry Birkholz Exhibition Usine 2006 - click on the image
Harry Birkholz Exhibition Usine 2006 - click on the image
Harry Birkholz Exhibition Usine 2006 - click on the image
Harry Birkholz Exhibition Usine 2006 - click on the image
Harry Birkholz Exhibition Usine 2006 - click on the image
Harry Birkholz Exhibition Usine 2006 - click on the image
Harry Birkholz Exhibition Usine 2006 - click on the image
Harry Birkholz Exhibition Usine 2006 - click on the image
Harry Birkholz Exhibition Usine 2006 - click on the image


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