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The Knight of Art

Jonathan Meese


He advanced his theses and barely took a moment to breathe. To some in the audience he may have come across as a preacher for cultural criticism, although that isn’t his aim. What he does want, however, is a revolution, an about-turn: to give power to art! Meese’s Holy Grail is to achieve an Art dictatorship. While his stage presence was quite impressive, some guests and members of the Board of Directors of the Nietzsche Society were less than pleased. He was met by an enraged audience whose interpretation of Nietzsche, for some a life-long endeavour, had been shaken to the core by Meese’s theses. Not only was the man an artist, a loony, no, he also had his very own philosophy: metabolism. Meese’s philosophy conceives metabolism as a sovereign metatropy, i.e. a metaphysical metabolism. Scandalous. Not only was God dead, but apparently Nietzsche was, too. All that was sacred had been robbed of its hollowed nature in the holiest of places. Thus their other God, Nietzsche himself, had become dead to the researchers. They stood alone in the dessert, yet again.

Jonathan Meese

Meese acts as a medium and art reacts accordingly, namely in the metatropic realm of the metabolic philosopher of art.

Should Meese be their next prophet, then? No, he couldn’t be. Despite the Nazi salute proffered at the start of the discussion, he doesn’t want to establish any new, militant priest caste. Nietzsche’s slogan, ‘I don’t want to be a saint, and would rather be a buffoon; for till now there has never been anyone more hypocritical than saints’ is something Meese takes very seriously. Meese announces the dictatorship of Art, plays with metaphors which don’t even pretend to be politically correct because based on traditions and rituals used by nationalist workerscum soldiers of the past. However, he stresses that one shouldn’t adhere slavishly to the precepts of the Führer, rather one should endeavour to serve art. His slogan, after all, isn’t that akin to a ‘worker dictatorship’ but to an ‘art dictatorship’. He is but an ‘ant’ serving art. He doesn’t demand anything from art: his question reflects on what art demands of us. He wants to be art’s servant as an artist. He conceives art as a higher sovereign power which man, even as an artist, can’t fully grasp; so all that’s left for him to do is to serve it. Art is encompassing. The object itself is decisive, not man.

Artists, being men, are metabolic beings, and thus underlie the whims of metabolism. Art, however, transcends individual metabolism, and is sovereign over the metabolic nature of man. The question is if there’s actually such a thing as a higher power represented by art, which transcends the metabolism of men? Is there a quiddity which justifies that artist Jonathan Meese wants to serve it ‘only’ as a metabolic being? I believe there is.

Art is a demonic medium, a limbo, which mediates between the divinity of individual artists as outward-facing beings, who have the capacity of creating new ideas plucked from their innermost thoughts, and the artist as a man depending on metabolism. However, it’s also thanks to his inwardlooking dependence from his daily bodily functions that he can overcome this obstacle and develop an outward-facing growth, contrary to what the ‘masses’ can do. Thanks to the opportunity provided by this outward-facing growth, man can create new realities by thrusting his paintings, his children as it were, out into the world in a moment of Dionysian ecstasy. He’s now become an outward-facing individual. Accordingly, Jonathan Meese creates his works of art with precise and ecstatic displays of swift, dizzying euphoria. As Meese serves art as an outward-facing being, we have to interpret his request as a form of humility in the service of art. He serves art slavishly, he serves it because he’s seized by art.

Art to him is an uplifting experience, a solemn encounter which is superior to the individual who loses himself in his inescapable metabolic being. In this artistic limbo, a realm where metatropy creates these outward-facing beings, Meese looks for the reason and goal of his yearning: THE DICTATORSHIP OF ART. The Holy Grail of the Knight of Art, Jonathan Meese. But this yearning Research doesn’t crystalise in a shapeless, vague idea, but in a precise intention, demanding discipline and complete obedience! Art occurs in the place where it gives metabolism a precise shape. It doesn’t simply dissipate into the world: it fills the world. Art transcends democracy; it elevates us above our democratised position. It plucks us from our mediocre life. It turns values on their heads. It’s revolutionary. Once, a big radical philosopher announced, ‘All things are nothing to me’; Jonathan Meese applies the same thought to art. The hegemony of art has been established thanks to metatropists who, according to Meese, are the true philosophers of art. The true philosopher of art experiences the essence of art as an outward-facing force as it happens.

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Dr Konstanze Caysa is a philosopher of art. She completed her PhD on the topic ‘Yearning bodies – a metatropy’ at the University of Leipzig. Between 2002 and 2010, she served as member of the BoD of the Nietzsche-Gesellschaft e.V. She’s taught at the Institute for Philosophy of the University of Leipzig, at the HGB Leipzig and at the Kulturwis- senschaftlichen Institut of the University of Leipzig. Between 2012 and 2013, she was the temporary replacement of a junior professor at the University of Leipzig. She’s been writing as a columnist for the ‘Leipziger Zeitung’ newspaper since March 2015. Publications: ‘Askese als Verhaltensrevolte‘ (2015) / ‘Denken des Empraktischen‘ (2016).


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