Prof. Dr. Dieter Ronte
The right way to deal with and through art.
"Make artists, don't talk." This sentence of Goethe has vehement consequences in German-speaking countries. While in most countries the visual arts of the modern age and their manifestos and theories are explained and adorned, double talents are celebrated, non-academically trained artists cause a furore, in Germany they are recognised either only as poets or only as sculptors, only as actors etc. The sentence has not lost its validity until today. The artist finds his aesthetic niche as early as possible, in which he remains for the rest of his life, because he has also experienced it as an economic niche. This means that he is afraid of change, of his own curiosity, of change in action as well as in thinking. The potentials of the desire to create art are consciously restricted.
Dieter Liedtke has always refused to accept this sentence of the Privy Council. He sees himself as an artist, philosopher, scientist, visionary, entrepreneur and inventor, e.g. as a developer of objects for daily use. He connects them, philosophy and research with each other. He develops patents.
Liedtke occupies a special position in the world of fine arts, which makes him vulnerable and at the same time unique in the consistency of his actions. The attacks do not disturb him, he continues to work, and in 1994 he even founds his own museum in Port d' Andratx on Mallorca, a place of exciting discourses on life and art. For Liedtke is also passionately the mediator for a broad public, not the introverted artist who fearfully hides in his studio. An important argument is that he has never been academically degenerated, but has always been able to choose his activities in complete freedom.
Liedtke searches for the formulas of life in the most diverse areas. He combines science with art and finds his famous art formula, which again and again becomes the starting point for new different pictorial works.
In his reflections he always tries to combine the most diverse scientific disciplines with each other in order to develop the right conclusions for an art formula from the larger circle of knowledge.
In the sixties Düsseldorf is the right place for the search for a new evaluation of art, for the search for new tasks in art. While, for example, a Gerhard Hoehme in his 1968 artistic manifesto defends himself against any dogma that might perhaps restrict his artistic freedom, his counterpart and adversary at the Düsseldorf Academy, Joseph Beuys, is vehemently searching for a new formula with which art can be defined in a different and expanded way. All his students report again and again about this search for the new art, as a social task. Beuys speaks of the re-evaluation of the human being in society and defines his new formula in the Bitburg Talks in 1978 as Art = capital. He accompanies these new ideas of creativity with his Free University as the new ability of all people, not just of a single artist personality.
It also incorporates scientific considerations from the non-art field. Liedtke and Beuys, as in the Renaissance, basically connect all human abilities with each other, as it is the case in the sciences and the arts. Today's universities have begun to implement this approach in recent years by formulating completely new courses of study, such as politics, philosophy and economics.
Beuys accompanies his ideas through his Fluxus performances, in which the explanation is often written down on blackboards, analogous to his intellectual anthroposophical partner Rudolf Steiner. These trains of thought often lead to abbreviated formulas that are difficult to decipher. Therefore: art = capital vividly formulated as formulas of Young Art in an unsupported capitalist society.
For the posthumous curators, however, the question immediately arose as to whether the work is still comprehensible and communicable without the person of the artist, as in the exhibition Parallelprozesse (Kunstsammlung NRW, 2010), which tried to give an answer to the question of what remains of Beuys. "He doesen`t need tob e there," was how Marina Abramovic put it about social sculpture as a Gesamtkunstwerk.
For Dieter Liedtke's thinking, these considerations are not unimportant, especially since he is often compared to Beuys, as the new Renaissance artist (Dieter Liedtke on the tracks of Leonardo; Welt am Sonntag 1995) as the second Beuys who wants to revolutionize society with his art.
Liedtke's formula from: Life + expansion of consciousness = Art is not to be understood as a limitation of artistic thinking. Art has often been restricted in its autonomous freedom by rules, such as Josef Albers with his Interaction of Colors, or the Suprematists with their manifesto, and by the pictorial definitions of iconography, specifications of the commissioners, political specifications to an idealizing realism in fascism and communism, etc.
That is why Liedtke's reflections focus on the history of mankind, his failures and successes, natural and medical research, as well as many other fields of human scientific thought. Art, as the location of chronologically different determinations, becomes the spectacular sign of the freedom of art. The formula is not a guarantee for making art, but for understanding art. It is not just the art of the present, but art from all centuries and millennia.
Like Liedtke, other scientists such as Bruce H. Lipton, who in his book Intelligent Cells How Experiences Control Our Genes (2015, German edition 2018) dissolves the division of science and pleads for a unity of today, tomorrow and yesterday that does not get stuck between nations, continents etc. Instead, tolerance becomes a positive, cultural energy. Here the artistic considerations of the 1960s are taken up again, to understand art as an offensive for a better self-understanding and not to understand the economization of culture as works beyond its content.
Liedtke's formula is a binary formula and it is reminiscent, especially in the artist's intelligent graphic version, of Albert Einstein's formula of the theory of relativity, the correctness of which is proven again and again and long after it has been formulated, because formula carries future within itself and does not see itself as the conclusion of thinking. Through the works of art, it incorporates the circumstances of the past as well as those of the present and the future, which will contribute to the expanded understanding of a work of art and free it from its connection to the present.
Liedtke's formula is an extension of human thought and understanding. It does not formulate a guideline for art, but rather conveys a better approach to art. The demand in it is also the freedom of art and not the dependence of artists on thematic exhibitions, which is often seen today, in which the work of art is only the visual proof for the correctness of a socio-cultural or political thesis (e.g. the last Dokumenta in Kassel). Liedtke refers neither to the artwork as a document nor to the artwork as capital. For Liedtke believes in the richness of a work of art, in its diversity, and not in the "Verreindeutigung der Welt" ("de-identification of the world"), which is so popular today (Thomas Bauer, Stuttgart 2018). A work of art can not only be shown in a restrictive context, but also as a cosmos in which the future grows into and that out of this cosmos-future provides answers to questions about our social evolution, which the artist may even have known and intended, but which he nevertheless proved and manifested decades before through intuition in the work of art and thus led to the public path of knowledge. Just as he deals with the open questions about the future of our society in his works, he also deals with the riddles of the monuments of our cultural history in his series of works of art and uncovers lost and unknown aspects of knowledge, which decades later are confirmed by archaeological and neurobiological and epigenetic research and can give us answers and suggestions for solutions for a better and ethical future development. In summary, he derives from past and future perspectives guidelines and actions for the first attempt to create a total work of art "New World", which he presents in the exhibition "New Renaissance". Therefore, in the overall view of our social development, he is interested in older art from the deepest past. Like Bauer, Liedtke fights against the fatal tendency to suppress the diversity of meaning. Liedtke's credo: "The dissolution of the limitations of art and art history or of consciousness through art.
Liedtke opens the way to openness, creativity, spontaneity as well as reflection: art as an acting philosophy of human life, a philosophy for the freedom of each individual.
Liedtke formulates the social values with his art formula, the impartiality of cognition and seeing, or seeing as cognition. We can also read these thoughts in the works of the artist himself, which show that he does not remain in an early found niche of aesthetics, because this niche has also become his economic one. No stylistic ties, but rather the diversity of expression as personal creation, which is realised as not ideological, but as individual expression of intuition and thought. The formula is not a constriction of art, but an option, a hopeful step into the future of creating and receiving.
The new freedoms can be seen in the works of art as well as in the many books by Liedtke. But it always remains certain that the visionary and reader does not have to follow a pedagogical finger. He is, however, encouraged to bring himself in, to see with, to reflect on his own experiences and to go forward with an expanded consciousness.
In modern art, the so-called autodidactic artists (the painters of the bridge, Kandinsky, Matisse, etc.) play a special role, as they have never been academically degenerated, i.e. spoiled by adaptation, and therefore did not have to follow the so-called rules. With Liedtke, the autodidactic visual artist, we learn through his many books with scientific content that he is also the autodidact scientist who, with an open mind and free thinking, explored content that was only later explored by the so-called scientists and thus made it to the Nobel Prize. Liedtke lives with a special, pronounced consciousness, which Jürgen Kaube describes in "Hegels Welt" (Berlin, 2020) in reference to the great philosopher Hegel as "Könnensbewusstsein".
Liedtke is a unique figure in the world of culture, who is constantly setting new impulses. He seeks to introduce the new way of seeing into history as an orientation for the future, which is at the same time connected with a confrontation, not to say a fight, against the traditional, socially conditioned outdated forms on which a society normally depends. Liedtke seeks knowledge and not the entertainment of society, which does not want to change. Liedtke combines the pure aesthetics of beauty with the means of social action. The formula for creating art leads to a stringent reception without diminishing the freedom of art. At the same time the formula contradicts the dominance of politics over culture. It formulates universal thinking in a common cultural context.
This is why the motto of the museum in Portd` Andratx is also called Codigo Universo, the universal code, or art open art formula. Because art is a law that abolishes laws. The new exhibition will give a more than convincing picture of this. Because the questions are always posed anew. The works as traditional experiences become liberated, autonomous actors in the present: life + expansion of consciousness = art.
Bonn in October 2020