We live in a world where reality is top secret. She has to be. Julian Assange is slowly dying in a dungeon for violating this unspoken law. We, the others, the silent ones, sit close together in a kind of doll's house and are happy about what we see. We think it's real. It's not real.
The artist must be an activist. One should not expect him to send a message, but a clear analysis of reality. The world needs investigative art.
Art must ask different questions of reality than those that are usually asked of it. The artist must have a feeling for the right questions. And he must constantly observe and study the world. He may later die in the ivory tower.
Art can be beautiful. The artist is a magician, not a scientist. But if beauty reflects the artist's hedonism and serves the viewer's hedonism, then the statement about reality in the artwork fades, if there is one at all.
There is no apolitical art. Either the artist is a rebel or he is a lackey of the powerful.
"It's not the size of the dog in the fight, it's the size of the fight in the dog which decides the outcome," the Americans say. The same goes for art. With few means it is much harder for a magician to perform magic. But if he doesn't have a rabbit, he can't make one show with the best trick.
Humanism is the best trick the powerful have ever invented. Because they have magicians, too. You can't underestimate them. You can recognize them by the fact that they perform magic in the dark and never bow after the performance. Art must not be "humanistic". It must also not be "politically correct". She has to be careful with "values". If she does not do this, she will imitate tricks in full light, which she obviously does not recognize as such, and she will legitimize her with them.
The avant-garde of art since the 1970s is postmodern. Postmodernism sees the world as a diversity on an equal footing with existing perspectives. For them there is no reality, there are as many realities as there are viewers. But it cannot be denied that there are plunderers and looters on our earth. Their perspectives are not equal. The beneficiaries of the proclaimed equality are the looters. A lot of them know that. A lot of the plundered know that too. In the real world there is only one perspective. All others are nothing but sand to be thrown into the eyes of those who are naive.
Postmodernism has provided art with a rich set of instruments. Can one distance oneself from it without laying down these instruments? The realism of the past is not the solution, it was rightly exposed as a lie. It has seven lives and is the worse enemy. Art must keep its distance from it. But the instruments of postmodernism dissect every narrative into a kaleidoscope of narrative fragments. That's a problem. What we need is the big picture. Besides, the game with fragments intoxicates, it's addictive. That's a problem too. What we need is clarity. If you want to approach reality with postmodern strategies, you have to be tied to the ship's mast like Odysseus when driving past the island of sirens.
Art likes to fly high above the ground. Reality is cumbersome, unapproachable, stubborn and thus completely unsuitable as an object of art. But what else do we have?