Freedom and Other Illusions Revisited
(or, when Life imitates / copies Art – the “total art work”)
With a Postscript: Meditations on Representationalism

by David A. Powell for The Saker Blog

“In disciplinary and industrial society, system-preserving power was repressive. Factory workers were brutally exploited by factory owners. Such violent exploitation of others’ labor entailed acts of protest and resistance. There, it was possible for a revolution to topple the standing relations of production. In that system of repression, both the oppressors and the oppressed were visible. There was a concrete opponent – a visible enemy – and one could offer resistance.

The neoliberal system of domination has a wholly different structure. Now, system-preserving power no longer works through repression, but through seduction – that is, it leads us astray. It is no longer visible, as was the case under the regime of discipline. Now, there is no longer a concrete opponent, no enemy suppressing freedom that one might resist. Neoliberalism turns the oppressed worker into a free contractor, an entrepreneur of the self. Today, everyone is a self-exploiting worker in their own enterprise. Every individual is master and slave in one. This also means that class struggle has become an internal struggle with oneself. Today, anyone who fails to succeed blames themselves and feels ashamed. People see themselves, not society, as the problem.”

From: “Why revolution is no longer possible” – Byung-Chul Han (Oct. 23, 2015)

https://www.opendemocracy.net/transformation/byung-chul-han/why-revolution-is-no-longer-possible

During my university time (late 1960’s‒early 1970’s), I learned about the Italian Futurists and specifically about Filippo Tommaso Marinetti:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Filippo_Tommaso_Marinetti

The book I consulted was my new copy of Herschel B. Chipp’s “Theories of Modern Art – A Source Book by Artists and Critics“; with contributions by Peter Selz and Joshua C. Taylor, published 1968. Included in this remarkable anthology is Filippo Tommaso Marinetti’s essay “The Foundation and Manifesto of Futurism” written in 1908.

About 34 years later, the novelist / essayist Mark Slouka wrote an essay called “Quitting the Paint Factory” (2004) in which he relates how he first came across the Italian art movement known as Futurism along with perhaps its most prominent exponent, Marinetti (all of which reminded Slouka – however indirectly – of one George W. Bush); Marinetti, who was a staunch supporter of Mussolini, and considerably more along an entirely official Fascist trajectory. Marinetti glorified war and violence from top to bottom along with holding a large number of very nasty, poisonous Fascist ideas; all entertained in an extremely serious manner which should never be underestimated and lightly dismissed as “simply a gesture of adolescent rebellion”, as Slouka admits to doing:

“I recalled reading about an Italian art movement called Futurism, which had flourished in the first decades of the twentieth century. Its practitioners had advocated a cult of restlessness, of speed, of dynamism; had rejected the past in all its forms; had glorified business and war and patriotism. They had also, at least in theory [my emphasis], supported the growth of fascism. […]

“… it was not until I’d returned to the States and had forced myself to wade through the reams of Futurist manifestos – a form that obviously spoke to their hearts – that the details of the connection began to come clear. The linkage had nothing to do with the Futurists’ art, which was notable only for its sustained mediocrity, nor with their writing, which at times achieved an almost sublime level of badness. It had to do, rather, with their ant-like energy, their busy-ness, their utter disdain of all the manifestations of the inner life, and with the way these traits seemed so organically linked in their thinking to aggression and war.” […] (my emphasis)

‘Militarism, patriotism, the destructive gesture of freedom-bringers,’ ‘a feverish insomnia,’ ‘great crowds excited by work’ … I knew that song. And yet still, almost perversely, I resisted the recognition. It was too easy, somehow. Wasn’t much of the Futurist rant (‘Take up your pickaxes, your axes and hammers and wreck, wreck the venerable cities, pitilessly’) simply a gesture of adolescent rebellion, a F*** YOU scrawled on Dad’s garage door? I had just about decided to scrap the whole thing when I came across Marinetti’s later and more extended version of the Futurist creed [1913]. And this time the connection was impossible to deny.” […]

http://www.molvray.com/ebooks/Quitting_the_Paint_Factory_Mark_Slouka.html

Nevertheless, Slouka seems to missed Marinetti’s co-authorship of the original Fascist Manifesto in 1919 … which is sort of a “major issue” in this particular art historian’s estimation – especially in view of what Slouka tells us that he “forced [himself] to wade through” (i.e., “reams of Futurist manifestos”) … while Slouka also apparently remained (in spite of all his “wading”) either unaware (or completely unimpressed by) Marinetti’s essay, “The Foundation and Manifesto of Futurism”, which makes it abundantly clear that Marinetti’s ideology of technology-on-steriods, war and violence – plus his glorification / fanatical advocacy of all forms of nihilistic destruction known to humanity – was already spiritually alive and kicking in 1908 … all throwing into considerable question the thoroughness – not to mention the “insight” informing Slouka’s self-professed manifesto reading.

But, there is more: Slouka’s flippant, unprofessional-sounding evaluation of the “quality” of Futurist writing (which, in his words, “achieved an almost sublime level of badness”); a “judgement” functioning, on another level, as a clumsy, career-promoting stab at reminding the reader that he – Mark Slouka – is what’s known as a genuine “professional writer (read: artist)” as opposed to all the pretentious art bozos historically known as “the Italian Futurists” (artists who Slouka appears to think only deserved to be exploited for his own puposes, instead of what was once known as a “fair and impartial hearing”; one informed by a sincere effort to actually listen to whatever is being said in contrast to the impatient condescension doled out by Slouka.)

What we are finally left with regarding Slouka’s superficial and art-historically shakey conclusions about Futurist art and thought (to put it mildly), is the author’s highly selective account of a phenomenon which the author obviously wanted to describe to his readers as one which only shares and thus reinforces the author’s own chosen themes which he’d already addressed in his essay such as “ant-like energy”, “busy-ness”, along with “utter disdain of all the manifestations of the inner life”.

Here is the brief, “essential information” which is given in the above Wikipedia entry concerning Marinetti: “In early 1918 [Marinetti] founded the ‘Partito Politico Futurista‘ or Futurist Political Party, which only a year later merged with Benito Mussolini’s ‘Fasci Italiani di Combattimento.’ Marinetti was one of the first affiliates of the Italian Fascist Party. In 1919 he co-wrote with Alceste di Ambris the Fascist Manifesto, the original manifesto of Italian Fascism.”

Contrary to popular belief along with the (mis)conceptions of some “professional writers,” however, nothing can change the fact that THEORIES, along with IDEAS (not to mention the representational images our medial culture manufactures and sells to us of Theories and Ideas), are not pies-in-the-sky we don’t have to take seriously in our “real world” of grown-up people, journalists, professional writers, and the like. Theories / Ideas are very real and tangible THINGS whether proven, acknowledged or not … and even when not exactly material objects like machine guns or iPhones. Theories / Ideas are made by humans and exist squarely on our earth. Consequently, Theories / Ideas have a profound influence over many THINGS within our material world including other humans plus their thoughts, ways of seeing, as well as their actions … yes, in spite of all of this happening essentially undetected by the materialist / reductive worldview.

Outside of how politically-specialized thinking regards what it judges to be “Genuine Fascism” – oversights and thought failures, along with the kind made by Slouka as he attempted to come to terms with Marinetti and the Italian Futurists … these remain largely the natural outcomes of not considering the fact that historical events / developments do not exclusively result from mere “political / economic / non-aesthetic cultural factors”; that historical events can also be the “born results” of something like a “total art work” (Gesamptkunstwerk); one employing numerous media and forms simultaneously – and one which in some cases appears on this earth with the paramount purpose of producing precisely such a world-changing force.

Quite uncoincidentally, therefore, a “total art work” turns out to have been what Richard Wagner created with his music dramas (while “created entirely originally” would be a somewhat inappropriate term here) … but one which is also exactly parallel with what our mass / popular culture – in a multi-medial, all-encompassing form – both accomplishes and in fact comprises … but operating in an entirely converse sense, i.e., in terms which are totally opposed in every detail and aspect of its existence as well as its methods, to art itself.

The idea of the Gesamptkunstwerk is a specifically German concept originating in the writings of philosopher Friedrich Schelling in 1802. Schelling wrote about the “necessary deification of the human being” allowing the artist’s creations to be equated with the creations of nature; while the term Gesamptkunstwerk first appeared in the work of writer / philosopher Eusebius Trahndorff in 1827.

In 1849, the term Gesamptkunstwerk shows up again in a text with the title “Art and the Revolution” by (you guessed it) Richard Wagner (it is unknown, however, whether Wagner knew Trahndorff’s work). In Wagner’s following book, The Artwork of the Future, he developed his thesis of the Gesamptkunstwerk still further – a conception of an all-encompassing artwork in which Wagner arranged and subordinated the individual “sister arts” for the common purpose / task of serving the music drama. (Wagner’s well-known incorporation of what Hitler later called “the heroic” elements of Germanic mythology and folklore in his music dramas, on the other hand, eventually earned Wagner the “distinction” of becoming – as well as remaining – the favored composer of Der Führer.)

Thus Wagner made the term “Gesamptkunstwerk” known even outside Germany, which naturally connected it, in the process, with his name alone. Far more importantly, though, Wagner’s entire grandious, foundation-shaking, Musical-Dramatic-and-World-Historical THEORY of the “total art work” was finally brought to vivid life and executed by an extraordinarily vivid human imagination working hand-in-hand with none other than a “real life,” down-to-earth Ancient Human Activity straight out of nature called art (which, in keeping with its source – that is, nature itself – can intrinsically be seen as neither moral nor immoral, et cetera … but only ultimately seen as “moral / immoral, et cetera” in terms depending entirely upon which art work / art theory / art practitioner is meant).

Marina Tsvetaeva (1892-1941): “What is art? Art is the same as nature. Don’t seek in it other laws than its own (don’t look for the self-will of the artist, which isn’t there – only look for the laws of art). Perhaps art is just an offshoot of nature (a species of its creation). What is certain: a work of art is a work of nature, just as much born and not made.”

(From: “Art in the Light of Conscience” (1932); from, Art in the Light of Conscience – Eight Essays on Poetry; trans. Angela Livingstone; Bloodaxe Books, 2010.)

https://www.abebooks.com/9781852248642/Art-Light-Conscience-Eight-Essays-1852248645/plp

It is this subliminally highly potent manifestation of the “total art work” which initially informs, inspires, gives birth to, and finally supplies the complete Wardrobe and Playbook of “Evil” and “Destruction.” What is meant here, in other words, by a “highly potent manifestation” is none other than a nearly limitless unconscious appeal to a sense of profoundly irrational, elemental power reaching below the conscious mind of those who consciously feel completely deprived of power (specifically belonging, for example, to a “prophetic-but-not-to-taken-seriously [mere] art movement” such as Italian Futurism).

And after all these only seemingly innocent theatrical elements are fashioned, arranged and assembled behind the scenes to make a “total art work” – only seemingly invisible to the sight of everyday political / economic / non-aesthetic cultural life – these Wardrobes and Playbooks, etc. simply WAIT … they wait for the actual “real life” Actor / Performers to appear and rehearse for the Big Historical Stage Production … after which Necessity in the Thoroughly Scripted Role of the political / economic / non-aesthetic cultural gives the Final Stage Cue for all the “real life” action to begin in earnest

… while what only appears as an “unplanned, unanticipated, totally surprising process of change and ‘world-becoming’ transformation” has as its RESULT (having no relation whatsoever to the kind which COUNTS) … the lightning-speed Instant Creation of a New Reality previously never existing at all within the materialist / reductive worldview belonging to “political / economic / non-aesthetic cultural life” … whether it amounts to an overwhelmingly beautiful stage work exerting a trance-like “spell” over its audience (yes – thanks to the music – in spite of its “unrealistic,” clumsy, and unconvincing nineteenth century stage effects); or, a “real life” existential nightmare for all of humanity without end; or, the “dawning / creation of a new world / projected arrival in some ‘Promised Land’,” it matters not … or, indeed, how long it takes for such New Realities / pseudo-Realities to materialize (or to not materialize).

Satan sneered: “The Good Lord copies
his own work! It makes me laugh!
In the image of his oxen
He will yet create a calf!”

And the god said to the Devil:
I, the Lord, ape myself – laugh!
First I made the sun, then stars,
first the oxen, then the calf,

first the lion autocrats,
then the little darling cats,
first man, then a monkey string;
but you cannot make a thing. […]

Once I commenced the work of creation,
it was done a week after I began.
Yet previous to that came excogitation,
for thousands of years, the whole plan.

Creating itself is simple motion
and bungled together at will;
the plan, however, the whole notion,
is what shows the artist’s skill.

I worried every single day
for easily three centuries
how to make men with law degrees,
and how to fashion little fleas. […]

How the sun shines on the sea,
and the sea seems crimson-tainted!
How the trees look green and splendid!
Does it not look as if painted?

Are not white as alabaster
the small lambs there on the pasture?
Is not beautiful and perfect
and quite natural, too, nature? […]

The reason for the whole creation
I am quite willing to impart:
I did feel burning in my heart
like flaming madness the vocation.

Disease was the most basic ground
of my creative urge and stress;
creating I could convalesce,
creating I again grew sound.

 

(From: Heinrich Heine, “Songs of Creation” [Schöpfungslieder, 1832-39], trans. Walter Kaufmann.)

Life imitates / copies Art equally as much as the other way around … unless, of course, one subscribes to a materialist / reductive worldview which has reversed everything from time immemorial in favor of the material account of reality out of very real – and very material – vested interests having to do with Things like material survival along with gain (to name only two).

What I’ve attempted to outline above concerning the form-giving capacity and potential of Art over Life, of course, has been addressed by Kazimir Malevich throughout his writings – comprising the as-yet-unacknowledged “missing link” for the understanding of what goes on in our day-to-day world of the so-called Geo-Political:

(1) The ongoing manipulation / instrumentalization of Abstract Representations of our world in order to dominate (repress) our world along with every Being and Thing in our world. This ongoing process is accomplished, in turn, by means of abstract representational image-making which converts all Beings and Things in our world into OBJECTS (including those amounting to the Religious Idols of a Materialist Belief System) as accomplished through Human Art = Nature (which, in keeping with its source – that is, nature itself – can intrinsically be seen as neither moral nor immoral, et cetera … but only ultimately seen as “moral / immoral, et cetera” in terms depending entirely upon which art work / art theory / art practitioner is meant).

(2) The creation of a world which is set free from objects; a world liberated, in this way, from the concept of domination (repression) itself … set free from the ongoing manipulation / instrumentalization of Abstract Representations of our world in order to dominate our world along with every Being and Thing in our world … an ongoing process, in turn, accomplished by means of abstract representational image-making which converts all Beings and Things in our world into OBJECTS (including those amounting to the Religious Idols of a Materialist Belief System) as accomplished through Human Art = Nature (which, in keeping with its source – that is, nature itself – can intrinsically be seen as neither moral nor immoral, et cetera … but only ultimately seen as “moral / immoral, et cetera” in terms depending entirely upon which art work / art theory / art practitioner is meant).

Note: under the heading of (2), an exception by way of an example can be given. I do so in this particular case because the composer / critic Robert Schumann (1810-1856) has given it to us in very straightforward, unambiguous terms in one of his many aphorisms:

“The laws of morality are also those of art.” (“Die Gesetze der Moral sind auch die der Kunst.”)

In this case the words come from an artist who was a Romantic from beginning to end in the true sense of the word. Schumann’s art and artistic practice was fully consistent with his thoughts as well as his life, allowing the statement “The laws of morality are also those of art” to make perfect sense (in addition to examples which could be given, in any event, concerning other artists who resemble Schumann; as well as vice versa.)

A further aphorism from Robert Schumann reads: “Art is not there to gain wealth. Only strive to be an ever greater artist; everything else falls to you of itself.” (“Die Kunst ist nicht da, um Reichtümer zu erwerben. Werde nur ein immer größerer Künstler; alles andere fällt dir von selbst zu.”)

Both of the paths named above continue as now-ancient phenomena which are, as already mentioned, (in some cases, depending) neither moral nor immoral, et cetera … and even less to be seen or understood as always “expedient” or “useful” … no, just as often as inexpedient and / or useless; which doesn’t mean, at the same time, that art cannot be exploited (instrumentalized) to the point of complete nonexistence like any other Thing found in nature.

“Art advances between two chasms which are propaganda and frivolity.” – Albert Camus, from “Create Dangerously”

Yet, the only phenomena which remain fixed in our spotlight are the old-fashioned methods of what can be legtitimately called “propaganda”; a completely out-of-date phenomenon in spite of it being correctly seen as amounting to “either political Lies and / or Truth to be either eradicated and / or supported” (while our “frivolity” – but only if and when it manages to primarily exist in the best cases as “a healthy sense of humor” – should remain as something to be cultivated and valued … because, as God knows, we need a healthy sense of humor now more than ever before for reasons which should be more than obvious).

However, the real “propaganda” of our present age, to the contrary, remains largely unseen: an entirely new manifestation separate from how “propaganda” has been traditionally viewed; one which propagates and sells a new form of unfreedom – an all-enveloping space which gives us our very Life and Everything in it – but one which we cannot escape (that is, not yet); one which is fashioned, in the end, by what we ourselves are led to continually choose as the only thing which can ever possibly sustain us; an unfreedom whose veracity is impossible to blunt by repeatedly calling its name while attempting to make its outlines visible; but which no culture – not even America’s – has ever been able to monopolize: Universal Materialism as dictated by the Law of Materialist Expediency … the major threat in our present to the notion of Freedom.

Postscript: Meditations on Representationalism

When I unexpectedly encountered my former university painting professor during the opening reception for his retrospective exhibition at a famous New York museum, the exhibition I had just viewed in another part of this museum was an exhibition of paintings belonging to the art direction known as German Expressionism. [see: Parts 2 & 3 of “Freedom and Other Illusions”] I won’t comment on this outstanding exhibition except to say that it contained a very impressive painting: Dance Around the Golden Calf (1910) by Emile Nolde (1867-1956), a painting I’d only known from art history texts:

https://www.wikiart.org/en/emil-nolde/dance-around-the-golden-calf-1910

Emile Nolde’s Bible-story-inspired Dance Around the Golden Calf represents the rollicking good-time-get-down fervor of worshipping Objects placed on elevated pedestals and possessing the status of (pagan) religious idols. Nolde painted numerous works based on other specifically religious themes taken from the Bible. Furthermore:

“Nolde was a supporter of the Nazi party from the early 1920s, having become a member of its Danish section. He expressed anti-semitic, negative opinions about Jewish artists, and considered Expressionism to be a distinctively Germanic style. This view was shared by some other members of the Nazi party, notably Joseph Goebbels and Fritz Hippler.

However Hitler rejected all forms of modernism as ‘degenerate art’, and the Nazi regime officially condemned Nolde’s work. Until that time he had been held in great prestige in Germany. A total of 1,052 of his works were removed from museums, more than those of any other artist. Some were included in the Degenerate Art exhibition of 1937, despite his protests, including (later) a personal appeal to Nazi gauleiter Baldur von Schirach in Vienna. He was not allowed to paint – even in private – after 1941. Nevertheless, during this period he created hundreds of watercolors, which he hid. He called them the ‘Unpainted Pictures’. In 1942 Nolde wrote:

‘There is silver blue, sky blue and thunder blue. Every color holds within it a soul, which makes me happy or repels me, and which acts as a stimulus. To a person who has no art in him, colors are colors, tones tones … and that is all. All their consequences for the human spirit, which range between heaven to hell, just go unnoticed.’

After World War II, Nolde was once again honored, receiving the German Order of Merit, West Germany’s highest civilian decoration. He died in Seebüll (now part of Neukirchen).”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emil_Nolde

Aage A. Hansen-Löve, the notable scholar of the Russian avant-garde, has written: “For Malevich there is a direct relationship between representationalism, representationality, deceptiveness and image cults in art – and a false consciousness, a dangerous capitulation of man to the world of objects, possession and power greed which ultimately all merge into a totalitarian cult of the leader, enslavement and war.” (my translation; from: Aage A. Hansen-Löve, Kazimir Malevič Gott ist nicht gestürzt! Schriften zu Kunst, Kirche, Fabrik; Munich: Hanser Verlag, 2004; Kazimir Malevich God is Not Cast Down! – Writings about Art, Church, Factory, p. 444.)

So – can this “story” concerning Emil Nolde be described as having a “moral”? Whether there exists an actual moral or not, it does seem that what is related in this story might lend a couple of grains of veracity to what Hansen-Löve has written above about Malevich’s view of “a direct relationship between representationalism, representationality, deceptiveness and image cults in art – and a false consciousness” – i.e., relative to the above facts concerning Nolde as well as to what follows below.

It should be be made clear at the outset, however, that in Hitler’s eyes, the problem with Nolde was not, in the first instance, only his “modernity” but specifically that Nolde was not nearly representational enough with his representations (along with another factor seen by Hitler as an equally colossal “artistic offense” to be mentioned below) making the Wikipedia article on Nolde a bit unspecific in its description of “all forms of modernism” as the “cause / reason” behind Nolde’s problems with Der Führer.

But this sort of generalizing should be expected not only from Wikipedia, but from mainstream art-historical commentary as well since both are basically equivalent. This is all depending, of course, upon who is writing; and in this case, the author of the above Wikipedia article does mention that Goebbels and Hippler shared Nolde’s view of German Expressionism. Nevertheless, what is often not addressed in mainstream accounts (whether intentional or not; or, resulting from the prevalent art-historical habit of only parroting what has already been written by others), has to do with the precise characteristics of the elements of “modernism” which Hitler / other National Socialists, objected to (or didn’t object to). More importantly, these elements, in turn, continue to be seen in our culture as matters of “personal taste in ‘art appreciation’ / the artist’s artistic free-choice” within a “free society” rather than “mistaken and / or questionable notions” of Hitler and / or the Nazi leadership.

If such omissions are somehow deliberate, the general term “modernism” functions as a convenient “cover” for glossing over specificities potentially revealing or questioning the “sacred-cow” reality of our onging mass / popular culture; one which has long ago absorbed and neutralized all art – “modern” or otherwise; a culture in which “freedom amounts to the freedom of the stupid to starve”; a culture in which almost nothing is officially prohibited – except that if one does not do exactly what’s expected within our culture, one rapidly – and literally – no longer exists. (see: T. W. Adorno / Max Horkheimer: “The Culture Industry: Enlightenment as Mass Deception” https://web.stanford.edu/dept/DLCL/files/pdf/adorno_culture_industry.pdf)

Not long ago, I challenged an art historian (from an anglo-saxon country) per email over his published formulation that “modern art” didn’t fit the Nazi regime’s “taste in art” – implying that “taste differences” were what triggered the highly extreme persecution of art / artists carried out by the Nazis and ending with the unprecedented “degenerate art” exhibitions. The historian answered saying that he’d have to think about it and get back to me; but somehow he never did this (which, on the other hand, was no surprise for me).

Further, Nolde’s “shortcomings” as an artist amounted to things which Hitler could clearly see – yet Nolde, for his part, could apparently see absolutely none of it. Nolde was for all purposes blind regarding what was not permitted when it came to the National Socialistic Aesthetic Position – at least, in Hitler’s conception of what was not permitted in art as well as within the art world falling under the jurisdiction of Hitler’s Reich:

(1) Any kind of compromise in terms of representationalism – in spite of what this compromise was called in the degenerate “art lingo” of the Enemies of the German People, German Culture, and the German State. (2) Any violation of a Solidly Artistic / Academic Display of Technically Immaculate Manual Skill … i.e., what everyone wanting to stay on Hiter’s good side understood as reflecting the “unparalleled achievements in all fields of human endeavor” of the supposed “Germanic Race as a Superior Totality” … making Nolde’s “free brushwork” equal in the eyes of someone like Der Führerwho was also a failed academic painter – to that of a “painting monkey” or worse (all bearing more than a passing resemblance to some other “Superior Totalities” of our present moment which might be mentioned).

So, if anyone possessed something resembling a delusive “false consciousness,” it was the totally committed (when not somewhat naïve) Nazi, Emile Nolde … while Hitler’s “understanding” of his own thoroughly false consciousness could not have been more unequivocably clear.

Nolde, aiming for emotional effect above all else, produced what amounted to self-representations. In other words, Nolde saw himself as “expressing” only himself with colors which had stimulated nothing outside his own inner ways of seeing … but who also saw himself as having art within himself, as the above quote from Nolde reveals.

Hitler, on the other hand, demanded, above all else: representations of objects found in the (outer) world which reproduce the appearances of these objects with an imitative illusionism not significantly departing from European Renaissance painting; representations whose “meanings” were not to be missed by anyone (… and this, just by the way, is how our medial culture of the present fundamentally operates, making Hitler’s demands rather prophetic for us, if one asks this particular artist / art historian).

But maybe, in the end, there is a moral to this story: committed Nazis can be completely forgiven for being committed Nazis … that is, if they make us feel really good with happy colors, etc. which we can’t ever get enough of … because, in the end, in spite of all his flaws as a human being, Emile Nolde belongs, beyond any doubt, within that art category which includes what is universally known and accepted as constituting “a great painter” … one also perfectly coinciding with what Marina Tsvetaeva meant when she wrote: “Don’t seek in [art] other laws than its own (don’t look for the self-will of the artist, which isn’t there – only look for the laws of art).” … primary laws which Nolde had no choice but to follow, regardless of how he saw himself as an artist – along with everything else which made demands on him.

Realistically speaking, though, this is finally the way the world is … that is, until the world changes / becomes changed once again by an Ancient Thing called art.

“Art is that which becomes world, not what world is.” (“Kunst ist das, was Welt wird, nicht was Welt ist.”) – Karl Kraus

About the author: David A. Powell is an American artist living in Germany since 1990. In addition to having a lifelong, ongoing involvement and fascination with the most radically unpopular ideas and concepts capable of being imagined by anyone, he has a degree in art history and literature and – along a number of other occupations and activities throughout his life – has also exhibited his paintings (in Germany, at least).

The Essential Saker II: Civilizational Choices and Geopolitics / The Russian challenge to the hegemony of the AngloZionist Empire
The Essential Saker: from the trenches of the emerging multipolar world