lundi 22 août 2016


MoMA’s Fascinating ‘Dadaglobe Reconstructed’ Exhibition 
Demonstrates Dada’s Inability to be Realized
By Robin Scher Posted 08/19/16 11:20 am

Through September 18

In the fall of 1920 in Paris, Tristan Tzara, poet and co-founder of Dada, embarked on an epic project to compile an anthology of works created by an international group of artists aligned with his avant-garde movement. Tzara’s goal was to print 10,000 copies of the book and call it Dadaglobe. Unfortunately, his ambition far exceeded his fundraising talents, and as a result, the project, slated for publication in 1921, never reached completion.
Tzara—with help from his friend and fellow Dadaist Francis Picabia—had written to 50 artists from 10 countries asking them to submit artworks to be considered: these could be photographic self-portraits, photographs of art, original drawings, designs for book pages, prose, poetry, and other verbal “inventions.” Over the course of the year Picabia’s apartment had become jam-packed with correspondence.
Now, following six years of archival research by Dada scholar Adrian Sudhalter, many of those fragments of the never-realized whole have been assembled for the exhibition “Dadaglobe Reconstructed,” on view at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. The display might be seen as either the remnants of an unrealized project or as Dadaglobe’s original intention finally coming to fruition.
Among the fragments on display is Max Ernst’s pioneering work of photomontage, Die chinesische Nachtigall, The Chinese Nightingale. It is both a photograph of a sculpture set on a lawn and a collage work. The sculpture depicts an anthropomorphic bomb (used by the British in World War I) with a pair of outstretched arms and a piercing eye—a portrait of distress.
“Had it been published in 1921, Dadaglobe would have recorded the activities of Dada at its climax and before its decline,” as Jeanne Brun wrote in the catalogue to French curator Laurent Le Bon’s 2005 Dada exhibition at the Centre Pompidou. The failure of Dadaglobe, according to Brun, seemed to lay in the “incapacity” of the Dada movement to have its “essence . . . congealed in one single publication.”
One wonders whether Tzara grasped the complicated nature of his endeavor from the start. Apart from financial issues, personality conflicts, too, also contributed to Dadaglobe’s demise. Was Tzara perhaps a bit naïve in believing that so disparate a group could achieve such a cooperative feat? Or, maybe, Tzara always suspected that Dadaglobe was destined to exist less as a Dada-defining publication than as a provocation.
Jean Cocteau, for instance, wrote above an image of himself in Self Portrait on Pablo Picasso’s Horse, “I’m not a Dada, but I’ll amble in your book.”
By bringing these pieces together, “Dadaglobe Reconstructed” represents the long-term ripple effect of the creative explosion triggered by Tzara’s invitation. More than chronicling what Dada was, these pages reflect the artistic freedom that Dada would inspire for years to come.
Another page, Portrait of André Breton at Festival Dada (with Picabia placard) is a photograph of Breton with his head poking out of the top of a sandwich board. He offers a playful sideways glance as his right hand points toward a large bulls-eye and the accompanying text (translated from the French), which otherwise obscures the bulk of his body, reads, “In order to love something you need to have seen it or heard it for a long time you bunch of idiots.”
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samedi 13 août 2016



Andre Breton, Dada’s Taciturn Target

THE DAILY PIC: MoMA's Dadaglobe show gets at Dada's strong, silent core.

THE DAILY PIC (#1585): “Dadaglobe Reconstructedis precisely the kind of show that the Museum of Modern Art should be doing, and very often has done of late. Memories of “Bjork” have pretty much been erased by an absurdly full roster of utterly unpandering projects.

For “Dadaglobe,” curators have labored to unearth a vast trove of material once intended for what was supposed to have been the ultimate anthology of the Dada movement. The book was planned in detail by the Romanian avant-gardist Tristan Tzara, in Paris around 1921, but a lack of funds torpedoed it late in the process. All that remains are Tzara’s detailed records and the art works themselves that he’d meant to include, which MoMA has tracked down in surprisingly large numbers.
Today’s Pic is one of my favorite objects from the Tzara project, and from the MoMA show, because it does such a perfect job of summing up modern art’s love of the new, and its disdain for those who resist it. An unknown photographer has captured a dandified André Breton, not long before he helped found the Surrealist movement, at the great Dada festival in Paris in 1920. For the occasion, Breton has put on a placard designed by Francis Picabia, bearing a target-like abstraction and the words “For you to like something, you have to have already seen and heard it for ages, you bunch of morons.”

Among other things, the placard’s concentric circles make an important point that we’ve lost sight of: Abstraction, in its first years, always came with an edge of Dada absurdity to it – and maybe still ought to, if it’s to keep its original heft. Jasper Johns, another target-maker, knew this; Kenneth Noland should have. Perhaps the utter sobriety of early pro-abstract manifestos was meant to counteract any remaining odor of Dada.

I can’t help feeling that Breton is quite literally and deliberately making himself a target of jokes, with the text that he bears as the disdainful rebuttal of a voiceless martyr. (The sacrificial effect is helped by the fact that he has centered the target on his gonads.)

Breton’s silence makes sense of another element in the photo, and in Tzara’s entire book project, that I’m not sure has been much noticed.

He is holding a copy of the very letter that Tzara sent out to solicit contributions to his Dadaglobe anthology. The sheet bears a carefully designed letterhead that reads MoUvEmEnT DADA, with the alternating large-and-small type that I’ve echoed here. The thing is, for any native French speaker who looks at this photo, or even at the Dada letterhead itself, the large capitals, along with the disappearingly small letters between them, can only make that mouvement read as muet – “silent” or “mute.”

Dada was a noisy movement, for sure, and its artists enjoyed making a ruckus. But for all its deliberate absurdity, it had a space of focus and concentration at its core – as witnessed by the close-mouthed withdrawal of Breton in this portrait.

Dada pretended to be all about anti-art, but its artists knew perfectly well that in the process they were engaged in making great art, in the same lineage as Leonardo and Rembrandt and other makers of the telling and silent tableau.

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jeudi 23 juin 2016

mardi 19 avril 2016



Reviving Maria d’Arezzo, Presidentessa Dada

Stet? Olivia E. Sears April 23, 2015

Translation may be the invisible art, but the translator's mission is precisely to bring visibility to a work of literature, and at times to rescue an author from obscurity. This is especially true when translating Italian women writers of the past who struggled for visibility even within their own culture. 

In a recent interview, Elena Ferrante, the renowned (though anonymous) contemporary author of a series of novels about Naples, has said that she writes under a pseudonym so that the focus of attention will remain on her books—in which she writes intimately about women's lives—and not on "some writer-hero.” While she has attained remarkable prominence in a short time, her work revolves around women who struggle to find their place in society. And yet in the Italian press there has been a persistent rumor that Elena Ferrante is in fact the pseudonym of a successful male novelist, perpetuating the search for the writer-hero, presumed to be male. 

Maria d'Arezzo, an Italian woman writer who lived and wrote in Naples a hundred years ago, also chose to write under a pseudonym (though her motivations for doing so are lost to history). In 1917, Dada founder and poet Tristan Tzara traveled to Naples to recruit this poet, little known outside Italy, to his movement. Despite d'Arezzo's assertions of creative independence, Tzara conferred on her the title of Presidentessa Dada in Paris and presented her poem “Volata” ("Flight") at his Cabaret Voltaire in Zurich. The Dada movement included numerous women (and présidentes), but when d'Arezzo made her international debut in the pages of the legendary Dada Almanach (Berlin, 1920)—the volume that collected the works of Tzara and his circle—her poem ultimately proved to be the only work by a woman to appear in the anthology. 

In the table of contents, however, the poet was listed as Mario d'Arezzo—an error perpetuated to this day on the official Dada Companion website. So here's to reviving Maria, who boldly declares in her poem "Andante":

Tonight I am everything and I am made of nothing—

I have even forgotten my name—

Born Maria Cardini in 1890, she published her debut volume of poetry in 1913 (under her given name) but soon thereafter confessed that she no longer recognized herself in its fairly conventional style. Adopting her nom de plume (Arezzo being the city of her birth), she began to ally herself with the avant-garde journals of the time, serving as editor of Le pagine, and in 1918 published Scia [Wake], a book closer in spirit to the Dada avant-garde, with flashes of near-Futurist dynamism, unusual metaphors, synesthesia, and occasional syntactical experimentation. 

And yet, within the span of a few short years, by the age of thirty, she had completely abandoned creative writing and dedicated herself to translation. Her entire poetic career had flown by in a kind of fevered sprint—what in Italian is referred to as a volata, the kind of thing that leaves a wake (scia).

As it happens, movement (or stagnation) and escape (or confinement) were d'Arezzo's major poetic concerns, and her work is imbued with a spirit of restlessness. The titles of the two poems from Scia translated in APS 22—"Andante" (1916) and "Volata" (1917)—are words of movement also used in music. Andante—from the verb andare, to go or walk—is used as an adjective in Italian to mean affable (for people), cheap (for quality), or simple (for style)—all with a generally easygoing connotation. But outside of Italy, andante had long ago been adopted in music as a tempo marking—defined as a walking pace—so a listener seeing a musical movement labeled andante would expect to hear music that is neither too fast nor too slow. Instead, d'Arezzo immediately follows her title with the startling opening statement: "I would not be surprised to find I am dead." She continues: 

I feel so distant so dead so at peace

while the hours slide by, silent...

She interprets this steady sliding pace as a "ritmo d'immobilita," a rhythm of stillness or immobility. By contrast, the title of the second poem, "Volata" (from volare, to fly), conveys speed. In its original meaning, volata refers to a flock of birds in flight, but it is commonly used to describe a sprint or a rush. Volata is also a term used in music—a fast run of notes—but not widely, and generally not outside of Italy. Hence, in the translation, "andante" had to stay and "volata" had to go. The poem "Flight" incorporates a number of phrases from languages other than Italian, and in the translation I largely preserved the kaleidoscope, as it is native to much avant-garde poetry of the time. Most of the phrases from French and German—which serve mostly for style and sound, as part of the whirlwind of the poem—would be familiar enough to readers. 

The only non-Italian phrase I translated was "bleu cendre" because the ashen blue is an important detail in itself, contrasting the narrator with the statue of the Madonna. The narrator's blue tunic is ample like the open sky in contrast to the small, rigid image of the Madonna—who always appears dressed in blue in Italian iconography, and is inextricably associated with the color—stuck in the hard vault of her "heaven." In "Flight," d'Arezzo sets up the opposition of free flight versus a fixed ideal, a ceramic beauty, embedded in the "duro cielo" (hard sky) of the ceiling. She imagines herself rising out of a preordained destiny to soar up, alive and growing, like a rose. And yet the rose is fragile ("sottile"); the statue is secure in its place, while the rose must try to find its bearings. D'Arezzo is explicitly writing about the conflict faced by a woman, but by invoking flight—a particular obsession among Italian Futurist poets of the time, who idolized machines and symbols of freedom—she engages in the larger poetic conversation. A well-known 1915 poem by Ardengo Soffici, a panegyric to the airplane and the rapture of flight ("Aeroplano"), names dozens of colors of blue in its ecstatic description of the "firmament" and describes the largest stars as roses. D'Arezzo's poem might well have been a response to this and the many other contemporary paeans to flight, with her own unique twist. 

Rather than the prevalent yearning to fly, D'Arezzo articulates a more specific desire: to flee. In “Flight,” she grapples with the longstanding dichotomy endemic to the Italian view of women: one is either "Madonna" (virgin, mother—or, better yet, virgin mother) or "whore." However, here the confinement of the little ceramic statue of the Madonna (a "madonnina," the diminutive) is contrasted not with the fate of a fallen and failed woman but rather with one who will fly free: 

     I have wings—

     but I could also set myself like a little white madonna in that hard

sky of blue tile shining above—

The ceiling is a hard sky where the statue perches even higher than a pedestal, and where it is mounted, immobile. (A side note here about the verb "incastonare": normally used for tile and gems that are mounted, set, or encrusted, d'Arezzo makes the verb reflexive, which limits one's choices in English. I had to reject "I could mount myself there.")

Numerous poems throughout Scia revolve around the theme of escape. In “Certain Domestic Evenings,” the narrator depicts herself “with the soul of a predator in a sparrow's nest ... coming home to the order of life with a soul in rebellion—and sitting down calmly when we really want to dance strangle smash.” (The shift to the first person plural might be read as a statement about how common this feeling is among bourgeois women of the time.) In "Unmoorings," the first line consists of a single word standing alone: "Fuggire." ("Escape.")

D'Arezzo's work is characterized by the intense ambivalence and ambiguity of the boundaries between soul and body, freedom and constraint, love and violence. For the translator, the challenge is to maintain the youthful voice of a poet focused on the urgency of music and expression as well as that ineluctable tension—the recurring "si e no" ("yes and no") of the indecisive trees that paralyze her, the sense of being at once "everything and made of nothing" ("tutto e fatta di nulla"). Whether or not d'Arezzo's poems reveal anything about the poet's own experience, they often describe someone (the poetic "I") caught between the expectations of bourgeois Catholic women (even those who are privileged and well-educated) in early twentieth-century Naples and what lies elsewhere—perhaps the dynamic world of avant-garde literature, with Tzara and his Dada compatriots, or perhaps along another path.

As with Dadaism, d'Arezzo flirted with Futurist poetics, but never embraced the movement, likely in part due to one of the central precepts laid out in the Futurist manifesto: the destruction of the poetic "I." As critic Cecilia Bello Minciacchi has noted (in her invaluable collection of Futurist women writers that has served to revive so many voices), d'Arezzo's self-perception at the emotional and psychological level seems to proceed from the physical, sensory level; the inner conflict that infuses her work plays out in the physical world. And while many of the best-known Futurist poems focused on machines, and particularly the revolutionary airplane, d'Arezzo's "Flight" is organic—the wings are her own, a part of herself, allowing the poetic "I" to soar. 

D’Arezzo: Two Poems

Poetry Maria d’Arezzo 
Translated from the Italian by Olivia E. Sears


It would not surprise me to find I am dead—
as my soul is full of sweet things
I never found in life.
The trees down there say yes and no, yes and no—
and the sky is like a distant kiss—
I must remain silent to understand, and make myself understood—
I will not break the rhythm of this stillness with a gesture, no—
tonight I am everything and I am made of nothing—
I have even forgotten my name—
and I cross my white hands, in themselves a prayer—
maybe I imagine a kiss that is meant for me—
and I too say yes and no yes and no like the trees
yes and no, yes and no my whole life without moving from here—
I feel like some old portrait of an unknown Florentine—
I have those white hands and that faded smile—
and I feel so distant so dead so at peace
while the hours slide by, silent in silk slippers on the carpet of time.


              in the sun
              (the first sun after days and days of unending rain)
              as one alive and drunk on the fresh air burrowing indiscreetly into
my collar and my cuffs—
              have an uncommonly vigilant sense of this subtle body
              bundle of nerves vibrating elastically à son aise in this ample tunic
of ashen blue—
              the sun fans out a golden halo on my head, as in the holy pictures
of saints—
              I have wings—
              but I could also set myself like a little white madonna in that hard
sky of blue tile shining above—
              by now far beyond all my troubles: today I am truly me—
              my face with its red mouth on the top of this agile body soars up
and leans towards possibility, just as a rose soars up and finds its bearings on
the top of its stalk—
              my friend, seize the moment, put out your hands and catch me—
              I have slain all my troubles because I am me—
              to hell with the selbstbespiegelung and all other sophistry—
              je veux vivre, j’ai seulement une envie folle de vivre—
              —voilà tout—

Olivia E. Sears is founder of the Center for the Art of Translation and the journal Two Lines, which she edited for more than a decade. She has published translations of both modern and Renaissance Italian poetry.

dimanche 21 décembre 2014

Valery Oisteanu. « HANS RICHTER, Dada Pioneer »

Dreams that money can buy

Hans Richter, Dada Pioneer
by Valery Oisteanu

"Hans Richter: Early Works from the Estate," Sept. 21-Nov. 6, 2004, at the Janos Gat Gallery, 1100 Madison Avenue, New York, N.Y. 10028

A visionary painter, graphic artist and an experimental filmmaker, the German modernist Hans Richter (1888-1976) was one of the original members of Dada. Though best known for his experiments in avant-garde cinema (beginning around 1917), Richter worked as a painter from about 1905, when he was 17, until 1919. Influenced by German Expressionism and early Cubism, his landscapes and urban scenes are in Der Blaue Reiter style, and his portraits with their deep colors are dramatic and mysterious.

Richter was born into a well-to-do family in Berlin. Although they were considered German Protestant in Third Reich documents, after the German re-unification in 1989 it was disclosed that both of his parents were Jewish. At the age of 16, Richter visited a Manet exhibition. His impression was of "absolutely heavenly music," and from then on his ambition was to become a painter.

Richters real conversion to modernism occurred in 1912, when he visited a Czanne exhibition and saw Les grandes baigneuses. He recollected, "I found it awful, ridiculous, badly drawn -- but an hour later I saw it again; I wasnt looking at it, it was looking at me! Suddenly something struck me, a kind of musical rhythm -- that was so to say, the first finger that touched me from the hands of the gods of modern art."

Richter was an expressionist from the beginning. The earliest painting in the show (and the earliest known painting by the artist) is The Flute Player, completed in 1905 when the artist was 17. A fleshy bacchanal of blues, greens and ochres, the picture shows nude dancer frolicking to the jazz of a faun-like piper. Another early work, done in 1911 in a similar, "Blue Period" style, shows a group of workers, perhaps installing a flagpole or streetlight, in a pose that anticipates the famous World War II image from Iwo Jima.

In 1913. Richter joined the group Der Sturm and later became acquainted with Die Brcke group in Dresden. He also met Marinetti, who articulated an esthetic of the machine. One year later he joined the circle of artists gathered around Franz Pfemfert, publisher of Die Aktion, a leftist avant-garde art magazine.

Several months after the war was declared, Richter served in the light artillery at Vilna, Lithuania, where he was wounded. Partially paralyzed, he was sent to a hospital near Berlin and later placed into the reserves, where over the next three years he published political and satirical graphics in Die Aktion

On Sept. 15, 1916, Richter kept an absurd appointment that he had made two years prior, during the war. He was to meet his friends, if they survived, in Zurich after the war at the Caf de la Terrasse. Richter recounts, "There were waiting for me two poets, fellow soldiers. They introduced me to the three young men sitting with them: Tristan Tzara, Marcel Janco and his brother Georges. I landed on both feet squarely inside what was already called the Dada group." Richter drew a portrait of one of the friends on that day, the poet Ferdinand Hardekopf (this drawing, done in pencil on paper, hangs at the entrance of the show). Several of Richters "Dada Kopfs" are in the exhibition as well as the studies for his film Prelude and several scrolls.

Richter believed that the artist's duty was to oppose war and support the revolution. He exhibited paintings at the first "Dada Exhibition," alongside works by Hans Arp, Janco and Otto van Rees. In his anti war drawings, his critical view of militaristic Germany was very clear as in Inspection (1917), ink on paper, depicting a recruiting station for soldiers for World War I or a drawing depicting a headless cow and two dead soldiers and a third one still standing and fighting called A World where Anything Could Happen (1917), a work done in pencil on paper.

That year also saw one of Richters more radical experimental works -- several paintings made in a completely dark room. Visionary Portrait - Tropical Madonna (1917) uses the entire palette in its fractured, Cubist-style picture of red and yellow babies surrounding a female angel, who raises her hands like wings. Another work from 1917, Visionary Portrait-Emmy Hennings, is a Kandinskyesque portrait of the celebrated Cabaret Voltaire star (and wife of Dadaist Hugo Ball).

In early spring of 1918 Tristan Tzara introduced Richter to the Swedish painter Helmuth Viking Eggeling. This meeting marked the beginning of a fruitful artistic collaboration. In April of that year Richter founded the association of Radical Artists in Zurich, which called for radical art reform and the redefinition of art in society. Richter was also summoned to serve in the socialist government in Munich -- an experiment that collapsed after one week.

On May 1, 1919, the Bavarian Freikorps took over, killing 1,000 people in six days. Hans and his brother Richard were arrested, tried and sentenced to five years imprisonment. Through their mother Ida Richters influential connections at the Ministry of Justice, the brothers were released after two weeks of detention. Hans returned to Zurich, resuming his collaboration with Viking Eggeling. Later that year, Richter, Arp, Walter Serner and Tzara staged the Ninth Dada Soiree in Zurich and two months later Tzara left for Paris. This marked the end of Dada activities in Zurich. 

Viking Eggeling came to live on the Richter estate in the Swiss countryside where Hans and his friend resumed their experiments with geometric compositions. Richter completed his first scroll drawing, Composition Heavy/Light, a series of geometric forms that became the basis of his pioneering experimental films. In 1920 Eggeling and Richter wrote the pamphlet Universelle Sprache in which they likened abstract form to a kind of universal language. Richter concluded that filmmaking was governed by its own laws, different from those that apply to painting, and decided to discard form altogether and articulate time in various rhythms and tempos instead. Richters first film, Film is Rhythm (1921), had a running time of one and a half minutes. 

After his emigration to the U.S. in 1941, Richter served as an important conduit between the American and European art communities. His easel and scroll paintings hang in museums around the world. Before his death in 1976 he had been a professor of art at City College in New York and an author of 16 books and pamphlets, among them a famous, personal history of Dada (DuMont, Cologne,1964) and a number of Surrealist short films.

VALERY OISTEANU is a New York artist and writer.

vendredi 7 novembre 2014

Adrian GHENIE. Dada is Dead

Adrian Ghenie, Dada is Dead, 2009, acrylic and collage on paper, 42 x 52 cm © Nicodim Gallery

Adrian Ghenie, Dada is Dead, 2009, oil on canvas, 200 x 220 cm © Nicodim Gallery

dimanche 26 octobre 2014

Richard HUELSENBECK, « Der Neue Mensch », Neue Jugend, mai 1917

Richard Huelsenbeck

·        Der neue Mensch

·        I.

·        Benvenuto Cellini sehnt sich im Traume die Sonnenscheibe zu sehen, wir aber wollen sie am Tage fühlen als mächtig pulsierendes Herz, als absolute Maßregel unserer Persönlinkeit, als Ziel unseres Geistes. Wir hörten zuviel von den Dialogen der Toten, allzu Künstliches empfing unser Ohr, so daß wir Gefahr liefen, Innerlichkeiten zu verlieren. Worte, Worte, zuviel Worte - die Stille muß aufstehen und das Ohr muß für das Orphische heiligster Nächte parat sein. Es wechseln Tage und Nächte, Götter fallen von ihrem Thron, das aber bleibt, wodurch wir wachsen und Mensch sind. Wir haben ganz tief in uns hinein zu sehen, um begreifen zu können, was sich aus Menschlichem machen läßt und wo die Synthese aller Fähigkeiten und Dinge des Menschen zu suchen ist. Wir müssen ganz ehrfürchtig werden vor der Gewalt unserer Seele; wenn wir die Erfahrung erreichen wollen, die uns sagt, daß das Imponderabil eines erhabenen Augenblicks eine bessere Beantwortung kompliziertester Fragen sein kann als präziseste Berechnung. Die Banalität ist Wahrheit, daß zu sich selbst jasagen muß, wer berufen ist, zu vielem jazusagen.

·        Der neue Mensch muß die Flügel seiner Seele weit ausspannen, seine inneren Ohren müssen gerichtet sein auf die kommenden Dinge und seine Knie müssen sich einen Altar erfinden, vor dem sie sich beugen können. Er trägt das Pandämonium naturae ignotae in sich selbst und niemand kann etwas dafür oder dagegen tun. Verrenkt zum Göttlichen, der Erlösung entgegentaumelnd wie Fakire, Styliten und Lumpenmärtyrer aller Jahrhunderte, die geheiligt worden sind, sieht er sich eines Tages von der Glut seines Herzens erschlagen, verzehrt, niedergerissen - er der Jauchzende, Irrende, paralytisch Verzückte. Ahoi, ahoi, Geißeln und Hussah, Kriege seit Aeonen her und doch Mensch, der neue Mensch, gleichsam aus allen Aschen erstanden, van den Toxinen phantastischster Welten genesen, mit dem Erleben der Proskribierten, Vertierten, mit Kot und den teuflischen Ingredienzien beschmierten Europäer, Afrikaner, Polynesier jeder Art, jeden Geschlechts gesättigt, saturiert, vollgestopft bis zum Ekel: sieh da, der neue Mensch.

·        Er haf seine Kraft, die in zwei Vertikalen zum Himmel federt, doch liegt in der Ausbreitung nach oben nichts Gewaltsames und die Mystik der Steigerung ist nicht abenteuerlicher als ein buon giorno oder ein felicissima notte. Der neue Mensch findet sich selbst in ekstatischer Erlösung, er betet sich selbst an, so wie Maria den Sohn anbetet. Ipsum quem genuit adoravi Maria.

·        Der neue Mensch ist nicht neu, weil die Zeit es so will, die Neuorientierung, das Umsichtasten als Blindlinge und Maulwurfsmenschen - er ist nicht die unterirdische Quelle, die auf die Axt des Barbaren wartet, um eine Verwendung zu finden - er ist nicht neu, weil gehillert wild wie gemüllert wurde (der Tanz der Aktivisten, dieser Libertins der trockenen Seele ist ein Geräusch vor seinen Händen) - er ist der Gott des Augenblicks, die Größe der seligen Affekte, der Phönix aus dem guten Widerspruch, und er ist immer neu, der homo novus eigenen Adels, weil sein Herz ihm in jeder Minute die Alternative bereit hält: Mensch oder Unmensch. Seine Wurzel zieht Kräfte aus mykenischem Zeitalter (die Thyrsusstäbe und Schellenklappen antiker Tänzerinnen sind sein Nachmittagsgespräch) - er lebt einen Tag wie Lukian, wie Aretin und wie Christus - er ist alles und nimts, nicht heute, nicht gestern.
·        II.

·        Man muß von ihm erzählen wie von einem Vater, der gestern starb - die Erinnerung an ihn überwältigt uns, so sehr sind wir noch er selbst. Seine beste Charaktereigenschaft ist die Demut, die große Demut, die nichts verzeiht, weil sie alles versteht und niemals straft. Alles Magisterhafte ist ihm fremd, er kennt kein System für Lebendes, Chaos ist ihm willkommen als Freund, weil er die Ordnung in seiner Seele trägt. Er liebt das Meer mehr als die Berge, weil es Symbol des Volkes ist, der Masse, der Verjüngung, des noch Nichts, des großen Formenkorbes, des Materials aller göttlichen Statuetten. Seine Stirn ist hoch und weit und umfaßt die menschlichsten Dinge, die Perlenkette der tabetischen Primadonna wie das Dekokt des besoffenen Kurpfuschers, den Harlekin der Straße wie den Dementen im Winkel der Krankenhäuser. Er kann sich so lächerlich machen, daß er mit jeder Geste seiner Hand an das Zwerchfell der versammelten Zuschauer rührt. Dann wird er zum Buckligen (zugleich hochgewachsen), der eine Rose im Knopfloch trägt und einen Orden auf dem Gesäß. Sein Gesicht leuchtet roter als Mohn, täuscht alle Farben vor, grau, violetten, hat den Perlmuttglanz venezianischer Schultern und schreit sich wie ein Marktschreier in die lachlustigen Herzen der Zuschauer. Die kleinen Mädchen werfen Äpfel nach dem Bauch seine Hänge-Hose, Steine werfen sie nach dem Schwein, das er sich als Haustier hält. Aber der neue Mensch entkleidet sich aller Häute, aller Brillen, Perücken, Postichen und Schürzenbänder - er tritt von der Bühne, die er für nötig hält, mit wachsamem Schritt: sieh da der neue Mensch, welch ein Held bleibt er inmitten der grausamsten Lächerlichkeiten, welche Kraft in seiner Hose, welche Erhabenheit in seiner Armmuskulatur - er ist es, der den Menschen ihre Würde zurückgibt und sie in ihrem Elend aufzurichten sucht. Wenn er von den Malern erzählt, die die Madonna malten, weil sie sich in göttliche Augen verliebt haften (wer verliebt sich heute in göttliche Augen), fallen alle Steifheiten von seinem Buckel und dem Buckel der Umstehenden. Seine Stimme ist in der Glocke, die man über dem Marktplatz läutet - ave, ave Maria. Der neue Mensch ist nicht für oder wider, er kennt keine Schmerzen der Polarität, und Nationalitäten bedeuten ihm längst keine Gegensätze mehr. "Sie irren sich alle", sagt er, "die an den Wert einer aristokratischen Lebensordnung glauben. Alle Aristokraten, die wir sehen oder gar die Aristokraten der Bildung, des Reichtums, des Namens sind wertlos; denn es gibt nur die eine Seele, den einen Elan, die eine Tapferkeit, die jeder Mensch besitzt. Alle Pluralität ist ein Geschwätz und noch kein Treppenwitz der Weltgeschichte - ein Affe, der sich putzt, ist darum nicht mehr als sein Nachbar. Ja -so -ganz gleim tut ihr es mit angenommenen Eigenschaf- ten, die ihr übersmätzt - und wer sich nicht an einsamen Seen auf die Kiesel geworfen und seine Knie zerfleischt hat, ist ein Dieb am Leben. Falsch ist der Gedanke, daß mit der Macht der Geistigen eine Verbesserung der Welt erreicht werden könne - ach das Gegenteil wild sein; denn wir kennen die kleinen Arroganzen der Geistlinge und umgeschlagenen Literaten, die ihren dyspeptischen Tenor wie ein kostbares Wickelkind durch die langweiligen Räume der Revuen tragen, ohne der Langeweile Weisheit jemals begriffen zu haben. Die Macht ist Attribut und Glanz des Bösen und darum erstrebenswert (auch für die Frommen, die doch nur leben, weil es Böses gibt). Wem fehlte nicht bald in euerer Welt das schöne und grausame Vergnügen, mit Dickteufeln zu kämpfen? Verbessern? 0 - mon chéri - verbessere jene force extraordinaire deiner Seele und vergiß nicht, daß sie zugleich deine force sexuelle ist. Glaub nicht an das Geschrei der Kastraten und Smwachbrüstigen, die die Folter aus der Welt schaffen wollen und denke an die Memoiren des Totenhauses."

·        Der neue Mensch glaubt nicht an die Phalanx der Geistigen, da er alle Schlachtordnungen in seinem Herzen trägt.
·        III.

·        Der neue Mensch glaubt, nur einen Kampf zu kennen, den Kampf gegen die Trägheit, den Combat gegen die Dicken. Es handelt sich um das alte Gefecht der Dünnen gegen die Dicken, mein lieber Paul Beyer. Ronsard singt ein Lied gegen die Schwerköpfigen, die Igel, die Pfosten und Felsmauern - und so wünscht sich der neue Mensm das Schwert St. Georgs für seinen Drachen. Er sieht einen Baum an und findet, daß er nur die Fiktion eines Baumes vor sich hat, denn er sieht nur den Elan jeder Zelle, groß zu werden. Ein Baum, scheint ihm, ist nur Leidenschaft und Sehnsucht nach der Krone. Ja - er - der demütigste Mensch sucht sich seine Feinde (die rachitischen Möpse und Jungfern, die Pfäfflein der Temperamentlosigkeit), und er hat eine ausgemachte artistische Befähigung, sich seine Bürger aus den Löchern zu jagen. Sein Feind ist der Unehrliche (der neue Mensch ist ehrlich und wahrhaft, ganz männlich, holzgeschnitzt auch in pervertiertesten Lastern), der Halbe, der Dauerlügner und Trunkenbold eigener Hohlheit. Der Feind ist der Rufer an Europa (jener «späte Schwabingknabe») der den Mist seines Hauses nicht entfernt hat - der Rhythmenklüngel und phantastische Verssnob, der Mensch des Morphins, der bewußt Unnüchterne, der Verpester der gleichgültigen Augenblicke. Der neue Mensch, der das Gewicht seiner Persönlichkeit hat, haßt den Klamauk, den unnützen Lärm, das Plärren um des Plärrens willen, alle Faxen erogen excitierter Jugendlichkeiti denn er weiß zu gut, was die Zeit van ihm will - sie will das Männliche und Tüchtige, die Einfachheit, die Solidität.

·        Simplizität führt viel schneller zum Ziel als eine Verrenkung irgendwelcher Art, und der Eingeweihte bekommt einen scharfen Blick für gestellte Wunderlichkeiten und jonglierte Phantastik; und dies vor allem, es wild ihm zur Pflicht, der neue Mensch macht es sich zur Pflicht: alle Umwege der Artistik versperrt man sich selbst aus angeborenem Ordnungsgefühl und innerer Reinlichkeit. «Träge» nennt der neue Mensch deshalb alle diejenigen, die unwahr, darum umwegig, harzeliert und verschwommen sind.
·        IV.

·        Es bleibt das punktum maximum und die Frage aller Fragen. Was ist Demut? Waren die demütig, die die Menschen in naiven und guten Stunden verehrten, Christus, Göthe, Dostojewski? Der neue Mensch schickt sich an, zu antworten: Demütig sind alle die, die an den Sinn der kleinsten Dinge glauben und deshalb eine große Ruhe und gesicherte Erwartung in ihrem Herzen tragen.

·        Das langsame Wachsen der seelischen Erregung vergleicht der neue Mensch den natürlichen Dingen allein. Er richtet seinen Blick auf die Pflanzen, die an seinem Fuße blühen, und er beobachtet die Organismen, die er mit seinem Stiefel zu zertreten sich hüten muß. Ein Gewitter schwillt an, Wolken sammeln sich über der Stadt, brüllend folgt nun die Detonation. Ein Berg steht auf, dein erstaunter Blick hängt an ungeheuerer Schattenwand, und eine rote Sonne füllet die Welt gleichmäßig mit ihrer Wärme. Das Mannigfaltige aller Bewegungen, den Sturm und die Ruhe der großen Formen, das auf und ab, das hin und wieder, Ebbe und Flut, das Kreisen der Monde - alles umfaßt der neue Mensch mit seiner Seele, die an den Dingen wächst. Der neue Mensch fühlt seine Demut in der Kenntnis der Dinge. Er weiß das Leben der Protozoen, und er kennt das Wachstum der lebenden Substanz bis zu den Gehirnbahnen des Menschen - o - er hat sich vertieft in die barocke Wunderlichkeit ältester Gesteinsformationen, und der Dom van Toledo zählt zu seinen intimsten Freunden und Gesprächsgenossen. Der neue Mensch sagt: Die Modernen wissen van den Dingen nichts, sie haben keine Sehnsucht nach der Rundung der Gegenstände, die Sinnlichkeit der Formen rührt ihre Netzhaut nicht, am trägsten aber sind die Dichter. Mit Versen läßt sich keine Welt erobern. Die Modernen wissen nicht, daß ein Tropfen Wasser den Extrakt aller Dramen Shakespeares enthält, sie wissen nicht, daß der Blick auf ein engbegrenztes Stück Wiese eine Tiefe des Himmels entschleiern kann. Demut ist meine Kenntnis aller Formen und mein Glaube an ihre Göttlichkeit - wie kann man, frage ich, abstrakt sein, malen, schreiben, bildhauern, wenn man nicht Dinge hat, van denen sich abstrahieren ließe.

·        Der neue Mensch verwandelt die Polyhysterie der Zeit in ein ehr1iches Wissen um alle Dinge und eine gesunde Sinnlichkeit. Der neuer Mensch zieht es vor, ein guter Akademiker zu sein, wenn er die Möglichkeit hat, ein schlechter Revolutionär zu werden. Jenes antike Mädchen bleibt Vorbild, wenn sie sagt: Nicht mitzuhassen, mitzulieben bin ich da. Alle Problematik, jeder Satz, jede These kann und darf nur Interpretation dieser Sentenz sein.
·        V.

·        Der neue Mensch hält folgende Rede an seine Jünger und Zuhörer: Suchet euch einen Mittelpunkt für euer Leben und beginnet wieder an die großen Eigenschaften der Heiden zu glauben. Wo ist euer Plutarch, aus dem ihr lernen könnt, was es heißt, für geistige Dinge zu sterben? Warum rührt es euch nicht zu Tränen, wenn ihr von den Märtyrern lest, die sich für ihre Überzeugung rädern ließen - warum habt ihr keinen Begriff von der Schönheit und dem Mut jener Jeanne d'Arc, warum fallt ihr nicht auf dem belebten Platz auf die Knie wie Raskolnikow und schreit: Herr, Herr, schaue auf mich herab, ich bin ein sündiger Mensch. Ihr habt kein Verhältnis zu den Dingen, ihr seht über die kleinen Dinge hinweg zu großen fiktiven Bergen - ihr sucht den Heiland in aller Welt und denkt nicht an euer Herz, das in ängstlicher Brust der Erlösung entgegenschlägt. Warum denkt ihr nicht an den Tod - jenen großen allmächtigen Tod, den Tod der spanischen Stierarena, den Tod der antiken Relieffe, den Tod der Cholera und Beulenpest - warum denkt ihr nicht an ihn, der die Glieder auseinanderreißt und die Familienmitglieder in Mordsucht aufeinander hetzt? Warum denkt ihr an nichts, was die Welt groß und furchtbar macht? Wie? Seid ihr nicht klüger als der kleinste Medizinstudent und naturwissenschaftliche Figurant, der eine physiologische Angelegenheit aus dem leben der heiligen Mutter macht? Der neue Mensch weiß den Tod zu fürchten um des ewigen Lebens willen; denn er will seiner Geistigkeit ein Monument setzen, er har Ehre im Leib, er denkt edeler als ihr. Er denkt: Malo libertatem quam otium servitium. Er denkt: alles soll leben - aber eins muß aufhören - der Bürger, der Dicksack, der Freßhans, das Mastschwein der Geistigkeit, der Tierhüter aller Jämmerlichkeiten.
Richard Huelsenbeck, 'Der neue Mensch', in Neue Jugend Nr. 1, May 1917