„Life is beautiful“ is what we’re hearing on the radio right now. A dewy song title from the German pop world. At the same time, almost 20 artists are exhibiting paintings, installations, sculptures, portraits and collages under the title „Nihilism“ at the Verein Berliner Künstler. How does that fit together? May one ask: How „beautiful“ is life at the moment? The exhibition title Nihilism cites a philosophical attitude that sees no meaning in life. „Beautiful“ would therefore be something else. On the contrary, there is something hopeless about nihilism.
Friedrich Nietzsche, Wolfgang Goethe, Albert Camus – nihilistic thinking runs like a thread not only through German art and likes to pop up in times of upheaval. Upheaval is our present time. „A nihilist is a person who does not bow to any authority, who does not accept any principle without examination, no matter how widespread it may be,“ said the Russian Ivan S. Turgenev (1818-1883). Accordingly, nihilism has nothing in common with ignoring.
While some say that there is no truth, others seem unable to engage in confrontation with it. Certainly, in times when humanity risks abolishing itself, exaggerated pro-life statements could be an expression of a purpose-optimistic will to survive. But facts are part of the truth: Some are starving, while others see their freedom already threatened if they had to drive only 130 km/h on the highway instead of 180 in order to stop climate heating.