1. We are exiles. We share a feeling of disillusionment, isolation, and exile in our contemporary era—not only as citizens, but as painters working amongst the hegemonic onslaught of esoteric, multimedia, and “subversive” art.
2. We are angry. We seek not to be clever. Ideas are cheap. Conceptual Art is dead.
3. We live in an era of religious fanaticism, right moving “democracies”, endless war and bloodshed, ignorant masses, genocide, and sociopathic corporations. And although America and the West maintain moral authority with military might, their democratic hands join the leaders of every country in the timeless epic melee of the “haves and have not’s.” The rich continually grow richer, the poor grow poorer, and the middle class no longer exists.
4. We believe late capitalism has infected every aspect of society globally from political power brokers to fine artists, from institutions of learning to institutions of art. Higher Education is not a right, but a privilege for the few.
5. We do not support any unjust war.
6. We pledge allegiance to no Nation State. We pledge allegiance only to humanity and the religious and spiritual process of Artistic Creation.
7. We are conservative only in that we choose a medium continually criticized for being outdated. A medium that is as timeless as writing and language itself, has integral artistic and spiritual qualities, and demands more from the viewer, above all patience, than New Media Art, Installation, and Performance.
8. We believe that today, the task for a painter is much harder, in an era where all is art, everyone is an artist, and biennials and institutions continually propagate ephemeral, banal work that recycles tired notions of the past fifty years of art—from artists who remain far too content with the status quo.
9. We seek to eradicate and erase an artistic idealism stuck in the 1960s encouraged by the Boom Generation who maintains dominate control over contemporary Theory and Critique in Artistic Institutions, as well as members of this generation who fail to recognize is expiry, and encourage it through curatorial and exhibition programs.
10. We reject wholeheartedly the Warholian notion of the entrepreneurial art factory, where art is produced on assembly line as a product, and the man who calls himself an “artist” no longer has a part in the actual hands on process of creation—one who acts more like a businessman or careerist than an artist. An artist is more than just a “producer.”
11. We believe painting is cataclysmically silent. We search and research, but feel the painter upholds a greater ideal: sublimity; to try and fully comprehend the human condition, perhaps fail, and to do so in a beautifully expressive way. We seek truth.
12. We believe the object must triumph over the idea first and foremost, and be created from start to finish by the artist’s own hands.
13. We celebrate emotion over the mind and the irrational over the rational. For that is what makes us human.
14. We believe in a visceral reaction over an intellectual one, an emotional outburst instead of esoteric antics disguised as artistic research, of passion over cold rationalism.
15. We have fled our original homes in search of something else. We are citizens and travelers of the world.
16. We seek a haunting, grotesque beauty, one that expresses inner turmoil in a tumultuous world, a brief existence, and an unfettered need to create meaning amidst apparent uncontrollable chaos: chaos both in nature and politics as well as the chaotic particles making up our irrational beings, manifested through the transcendent power of a true work of art.
We are the New Berlin Painters
Paul Vogeler, Moritz Hoffmann