On this page I write down my thoughts which I had at different times, on different subjects and that reflect my personal opinion. This subjects may cross over into one another and are roughly ordered.updated: 06/26/ 2011
I have often been asked what art is. Honestly, I don't know. For me, the term "art" is the most difficult to interpret: more difficult than "God" or "gravitation". Humans perform arts in order to transcendent their being here. The methods differ greatly. A metaphorical comparison: Art is an angry hurricane speeding over landscapes, relentlessly picking up everything, deforming, tearing, and renaming it before dropping everything again. The hurricane itself is invulnerable throughout all this.
Current Paintings / Current Art
For the most part, today's art leaves me clueless. For instance: I heard about Peter Doig, currently the highest paid artist. To date I had never heard of him so I decided to look up his work on the web. Free of any enthusiasm, lacking any depth. Constructed stuff, as if painted with a computer program: "How can I paint new, surprising, never before seen pictures of boats on water?" It does not suffice to add "secret" to the paintings. That's just too dull. Many such paintings do attract me, because at first glance they appear to be interesting. After a short while, however, I feel bored. Nothing remains. I feel similar when it comes to artists like Neo Rauch and Daniel Richter.
In my opinion, contemporary artists are very unlikely to create something truly new, to find new forms. The attempt to achieve this regardless has resulted in many monstrous and seemingly arranged pieces. Additionally, the refusal of committing to any style is not a style in itself. With all due respect to good intentions, effort and achievement are not siblings. Or else the materials are not permanently durable. To re-examine known forms, in the spirit of Baselitz repainting his own works could be a solution (although I like Baselitz' remakes less than his originals).
Prince of Painting
No one other than Peter Paul Rubens, Michelangelo or Tizian deserves this honoring title. But today: how presumptuous, how purely alleged. It sounds like whistling in the woods, the sound of their own fears of insignificance. If significance cannot be achieved through history, it will not be achieved by adulation. Living in a castle makes no one a prince. To hold court at a vernissage only suits hysterics well. The overestimation of one's own person in regards to a dazzling lifestyle - merely on the basis of being an artist- is ridiculous. I have nothing against suitable rooms to allow optimal work. The difference between an artist and philosophers, scientists, clerics, or nurses lies in the constant occupational use of creativity. This does not make him a saint, but a creator in his own universe. He sees things that others do not see. This can be a blessing and a curse. Where is the Nobel - prize for Arts?
From the perspective of evolution, the human brain's ability to believe in something non-existent, or a conception of something, was necessary for survival (otherwise this progress wouldn't have occurred). However, from the perspective of contemporary political and cultural problems, the development seems to have failed. The religious belief in one God has never, not at any time, led anyone to where he hoped. Instead it has misled people to suppression, abuse, and all those other horrifying atrocities committed in the name of God or a conception of some idea. In my opinion, turning to arts, science and philosophy would suffice in order to obtain equality and happiness for all people. To me it is incomprehensible, that humankind still mindlessly attaches itself to Gods and Healers in order to give meaning to their lives. Why can humankind not escape this? How unfortunate. Today, free spirit and freethinking are needed more than ever! !
Madness in the Arts I
In his days, Goethe already accused the piece of art of always mirroring the artist, no matter his mood. This is and always will be a topic to consider. My experience with artist has proven this absolutely right. Not every artist is neurotic or psychopathic, but most. It could be objected that the same ratio can be found in any population. Correct. Their numbers are also increasing. However I want to point out a question that has genuinely occupied my thoughts throughout my life: Is madness an engine or a motivation for creativity? Is madness indispensible to lead the artist's hand? If that is so, then this art deserves no credit. And then I myself am not a good artist. Given the success of i.e. Jonathan Meese (see following text), I sometimes regret my sanity. The gift of a deficit probably bears so much dynamic that it simply must breakthrough. Is a work of art created under such circumstances a reflection of the patient's madness or is it his free will to succumb to real art and transcendence? It could even be both. I am not quite sure. The Beatles created "Sgt. Pepper's…" under the influence of drugs. It is considered one of the best pop music albums of all times. But with the help of the "Green Manalishi"? See above. It must be possible to create good art with the power of pure spirit and will. I bought myself a case of beer yesterday. I'm gonna open up my first bottle of "Prestige" and turn up some Led Zeppelin…
Madness in the Arts II
In the difficult case of Jonathan Meese the boundaries between art and madness have been diminished in a manner never before known. Because common sense assumes it is that way. Conversely, it would be fatal to consider all rampaging inmates of padded cells artist per se. The works of Art-Brut artists in Gugging, Germany emit an oppressive atmosphere and convincingly portray their deep fears and madness. In comparison to those, Meese's artistic actions, whether performances or paintings, do not generate convincing results. They merely result in entropy. I would have expected more from a lunatic. It seems that art is only recognized as such when placed in suitable surroundings. Performed in a psychiatric clinic, Meese's performances would prompt the head of institution to lock Meese up. Apparently again one does not dare to call a spade and call an obviously disturbed person as such. The benevolent criticism of Meese's work shows that art critics have developed their own Pavlovian responses to recognizing human doing as art. Art critics not refuse themselves in consideration of Meese's condition. Instead they write elegiac critics that could – and elsewhere would - also be considered medical histories. The necessity and importance of art critics is unquestionable. However, art critic should also expose itself to criticism. Like the child in the fairy tail "The Emperor's New Clothes" art critics should say: "But he has nothing at all on!" Art and artists would profit, if not everything produced under the guise of art would a priori be considered art. Because that would make it all the same anyway. Everything created can somehow or other be declared art. That would be a catastrophe for the arts.
Madness in General
As I lean back and watch my aging, my growing experience, and wisdom I can also feel my philanthropy faltering. My naïve belief in the good in human beings is vanishing. Looking at the everyday madness I feel great despair. More and more I believe that the world has been and is being determined by complete lunatics: Mohammed, L. Ron Hubbard, Hitler, Pol Pot, Political Correctness, Jonathan Meese, A.Merkel, IS-Terror and so on. My friends tell me it takes a while to become a misanthrope. I hope at the end it only results in a readjustment of how I see the world. An urgently needed readjustment...
Strolling through art fairs such as Art-Cologne or Art-Basel I always end up with my favorites: Dieter Krieg, Georg Baselitz, Walter Stöhrer, Raimund Girke, and Per Kirkeby. US-Americans also inspire me still. For instance, among my favorites at the MoMa (2009) in New York were: Willem de Kooning, Sam Francis, Jackson Pollock, and Cy Twombly.
Twice a week I play pool billiard at the Hotel "La Reserve" in Petion Ville, a beautiful resort around the corner. My current opponents are two great players, who are not to be underestimated. Conclusion: despite my 30-year-experience as a pool billiard player, I mostly lose. I have realized that I learned everything wrong from the start: rules of the game through hearsay, blue haze,cigarette ash and beer on the table, poor leading of the cue, etc. Playing at low level, not knowing the meaning of high level.All of that is carved in marble and almost impossible to practice away. If I could have learned it all right from the start, I would be in a much better position today. Today I know the meaning of a good and real game. I practice regularly and try to carve the new and improved way of playing into stone. Precision is required. Some considerations follow that thought: My premise as an artist was and is to focus on the fuzzy, the blurry, and the dissolving. This can be an obstacle in day-to-day-life. The old balancing act between art and life…
I have rediscovered Pink Floyd, lately it has been the albums "Animals" and "Obscured by Clouds". I used to think these were rather boring, today I've been discovering their qualities. Especially "Sheep" (from "Animals") fascinates me. I get a good feeling when listening to it. Considering the fact that in general Haitians listen to a different type of music (Salsa, Compas, Merengue, and 50 further styles), I was convinced that the local culture would impose its taste on me. I thought it would be impolite to make the natives listen to any other music than their own. To listen to anything else seemed like a sacrilege to me. Does Pink Floyd go with Haiti? At first I had my doubts. But setting some European noise against the local noisy backdrop – consisting of zillion running generators (called "Delkos"), cars and trucks without silencers, quads (four-wheeled motorcycles), cacophonic barking, nightly gunshots, and screaming lunatics – became very satisfying! (Given similar acoustic phenomena can be found in Pink Floyd's music). Furthermore the spherical sounds produce the well-known magical worlds. I'm just wondering how the early Pink Floyd albums would sound around here… Nowadays I feel similar when it comes to King Krimson, Capt'n Beefheart, and the best German band ever: Amon Düül. Their work is another musical re-discovery for me. It's very enjoyable with some sparkling wine, here in Haiti…