Arik Brauer. Don't Shoot the Blue Flower...!
Arik Brauer, who lives and works in Vienna and Israel, celebrates his 75th birthday on 4 January 2004. This comprehensive exhibition of 150 works is structured into 9 themes: Flowers and Trees, War and Peace, The Bible and the Lozelach, All Winter, The Magic Flute, The Colorful Gang, Checkmate, Muse Kisses, Pangs of Conscience.
Arik Brauer was born in 1929 in Vienna as the son of an immigrant craftsman. He survived Nazi persecution by hiding in Vienna's working class district, Ottakring. From 1945 Brauer studied art at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna under Albert Paris Gütersloh. Together with his friends at the academy he "co-founded" the so-called Viennese School of Fantastic Realism. After extensive travel through Europe and the Orient, mostly by bicycle, he settled in Paris, earning his living as a singer and, beginning in 1957, began to be recognized as a painter.
He married his wife Neomi in Israel. His first record of critical songs in the Viennese dialect was published in 1967. He gained recognition through his television productions, stage designs and architectural projects as well as through numerous international exhibitions.
Flowers and Trees
“Painting is an invention of the flowers. Their bright colors attract the insects that transport the pollen.” One paints a colorful picture and people come to see it. Plants are the foundation of our existence. The space they fill in our imagination is correspondingly large. Ornamental design always originates from floral forms. All architecture up to Modernism was based on the structural principles of plants.”
War and Peace
“ During my lifetime I have experienced five wars; so I know what it means. All human beings want peace – and yet an angel would have to appear and force it upon us. After all, peace is an unnatural condition for us because it implies that there is no one who will force a change of his situation. If our self-consciousness and self-understanding is not focused on power and possessions but rather on abilities, then we shall learn rather than fight.”
The Bible and the Lozelach
“Even when they are atheists Jews are in a certain sense religious. I am a good example. I cannot believe in the essential statements of the Bible, but I am fascinated by the power of the Hebrew language, the poetry of the narration and the parables, the fantastic realism in balance between history and invention. ‘Yiddishness’ is a side branch of my cultural heritage; the older I get, the more I remember the proverbs, the songs and the Lozelach. “
“Whoever joins the party is allowed to play. To overcome boredom, ever newer and more colorful toys have to be invented. Whoever is rejected is left standing in the snow, dreaming of the Island of the Blessed. “
The Magic Flute
“Music is mankind’s magic flute, capable to let our monsters dance. Unfortunately, the ‘vicious’ of the world are often so a-musical that it does not always work. Mozart knew that; my whole life I have danced to his flute.”
The Colorful Gang
“Let’s live and fight in the happy illusion of being the powerful masters of the world and of our own selves. In the end, we are all garden gnomes, helplessly at the mercy of our own dispositions and fates.”
“Chess is a brutal game because it reflects human society. Deceit and intrigue promise success; peasants are being sacrificed and an almost lame king is being defended with teeth and claws. If it’s true that the fight for existence develops the intelligence of all beings and that war is the father of all things – chess is a perfect parable. Checkmate (The sheikh is dead).”
“And again as so often, Mephistopheles sits with the Old One drinking a glass of nectar and the Old One begins to tease: “Hey Goatee! Faust to and Faust fro, art is eternal! I have endowed man with abilities, which can unfold only through certain activities. Who can write poetry must write poetry, who can sing must sing, who is called to paint must paint – as long as humanity exists!’ ‘I accept the bet!’ the devil hisses. ‘Show me your genius and I will dissuade him from his art before the rooster has crowed!’"
Pangs of Conscience
“Every generation commits its own sins and lives with its pangs of conscience. My generation committed perhaps the greatest crime of all time: wounding the world. Massacred people have the ability to recover; destroyed coral reefs disappear forever. You and I are guilty. In order to save what can be saved, we would have to jump over our own shadow. When ‘re-thinking’ and ‘re-feeling’ is required, artists have to fulfill an obligation.”
“In my painting there is no real breach with the so-called reality. I integrate my fantasy world through shortcuts, but free creation retains a veritable claim to reality. It could exist or perhaps will exist one day...”