Art and Society

Art in times of war and crisis

How can one write about art and culture in a time like the present?

How can one write about fine arts, the joy of colours, compositions and figurations in such a time?
A comment on the current situation.

For some time now, I have wanted to write topical articles on current art events and to publish thoughts on contemporary issues here to share with you. But something prevents me from doing so. It doesn’t feel right, I somehow lack inspiration. And somehow there is a feeling that blocks me. I don’t feel light enough, maybe not free enough in my thoughts to write about individual artists, works and special exhibitions.

I have been asking myself why is this. I have noticed that my thoughts tend to revolve around what the world will look like in the future, how will it, should it go on? What urgent problems are there to be solved that I should rather devote myself to? And I fall into a kind of paralysis of shock. “What can be done to make a positive difference? What is the point of writing something on art and culture when elsewhere, not far away, people are being executed?”

It’s also like this, during the Corona period I thought, eyes closed and through. “That’s just the way it is now, we have to go through it.” Also during the pandemic, a lot of people died at high times and it was a lot of suffering. During this time we tried to make the best of it. And somehow it was also quite interesting to suddenly develop new methods and strategies to be able to meet, go shopping or, or, or. Now the war is here and with it a suffering for many people for which there is no description, no comparison, no words. That the war now also brings political consequences, not to mention the economic ones, that is now very annoying, but the worst thing is that it is taking place, that there is a war not very far away, even in Europe. That this crime is repeated, indeed that wars still occur, is incomprehensible, indescribable and terrible. That it is deliberate on the part of a human being, and that the decision to do so was made with clear intent, makes one doubt everything, especially the human condition, and makes one pause. What is the point of doing anything now? Doesn’t art seem more like a superfluous pastime in these times, a luxurious pleasure for the privileged?

I think “no”, because art can also be simple. It doesn’t have to be a waste of resources or an environmentally damaging battle of materials, it can also be very simple, very plain and sometimes quiet and still powerful and impressive.

This is art that gives support, it comforts, it touches or moves when there is not too much in reality that touches you emotionally. Because reality is cold, hard and, in the worst case, just bleak. That’s why it’s so important that art exists, even or especially in times that don’t seem to give much material for art or give us the strength, inspiration and joy for art. But it is important to have it in these times, to draw, paint, sing and dance. It is good for the mind and the soul and that is what counts in the end. That you don’t bury your head in the sand, but look to the future with optimism, strength and enthusiasm and want to contribute positively to shaping the world.

Art has always been and will always be a language that people speak. The language they need to communicate, to open and keep their hearts open and to let others take part. To give expression to their emotions so that they do not fall silent at some point and seep away forever. They need it like people need music, books and dance. Drawing and painting something can give so much energy and courage, so that one also regains the strength to cope with everyday things that may not always be nice at the moment.

Written by Josephine Taraschkewitz

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