"I only attack causes that are victorious -- in some cases I wait until they are victorious," -- this is a quote from the last book written by philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche "Ecce Homo: How One Becomes What One Is".
Latin words Ecce Homo means "Behold the Man", they were spoken by the Roman Prefect Pontius Pilate when Jesus is paraded in front of a hostile crowd in Jerusalem before his Crucifixion. The attack on causes that are victorious is a favorite activity of the pop singer Madonna, she becomes victorious always and everywhere.
Nietzsche who called himself "the last disciple of the philosopher Dionysus" admired the Greeks for making "the sexual symbol... the venerable symbol par excellence". If Nietzsche was alive he would have admired Madonna as one of the most powerful sexual symbols.
Nietzsche's idea of "the overman" (Übermensch) is one of the most significant concept in his philosophy. It has been translated as Overman, Overhuman, Beyond-man, Above-Human, Superman, and Super-human.
Zarathustra spends more time discussing the details of this striving than he does explaining what the Übermensch is. For example, this passage from Nietzsche's book Thus spoke Zarathustra sheds light on this concept: "A new pride my ego taught me, and this I teach men: no longer to bury one's head in the sand of heavenly things, but to bear it freely, an earthly head, which creates a meaning for the earth."
For me, this passage represents a basis to start questioning my own assumptions about "Super-human": "Behold, I teach you the Übermensch. The Übermensch is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the Übermensch shall be the meaning of the earth! I beseech you, my brothers, remain faithful to the earth, and do not believe those who speak to you of otherworldly hopes." Nietzsche wrote "I beseech you, my brothers, remain faithful to the earth", and I corrected him slightly "I beseech you, my brothers and my sisters, remain faithful to the earth."
According to Nietzsche, the super-human is a goal that humanity should strive for. The real super-human is the person who realizes his (her) full potential as a human being, and Madonna is like this. Especially if you consider that she is a woman, it means that she often encounters sexism in her business dealings with men, as all women do. So, considering all types of discrimination - sexism, ageism, racism etc, I think the Übermensch (or a super-human) is a woman, not a man, and one of these amazing super-humans is Madonna.
Paintings Thus Spoke Zarathustra
First of all I would like to quote some lines from Henry Miller's book Tropic of Cancer: "If now and then we encounter pages that explode, pages that wound and sear, that wring groans and tears and curses, know that they come from a man with his back up, a man whose only defenses left are his words and his words are always stronger than the lying, crushing weight of the world, stronger than all the racks and wheels which the cowardly invent to crush out the miracle of personality". The rebel spirit of this great American writer corresponds to the free spirit of Nietzsche himself, they are so much alike that I don't know which i prefer more.
I remade Henry Miller's passage a bit considering that I'm an artist and not a writer, and I'm a woman and not a man: "If now and then we encounter paintings that explode, paintings that wound and sear, that wring groans and tears and curses, know that they come from a woman with her back up, a woman whose only defenses left are her images and her images are always stronger than the lying, crushing weight of the world, stronger than all the racks and wheels which the cowardly invent to crush out the miracle of personality". These words are trustworthy and true, they are no longer a book passage but a real feminist anthem and an anthem of a nonconformist artist. I think Madonna is a nonconformist artist too, because words of her songs are "always stronger than the lying, crushing weight of the world, stronger than all the racks and wheels which the cowardly invent to crush out the miracle of personality".
This is the reason why I have chosen Madonna as the subject of my new oil painting series Thus Spoke Zarathustra. She is worthy of it, she is the Übermensch.