Thus Spoke Lena Hades: Nietzsche's Texts Live In Me

Zarathustra and Dwarf (detail).
Zarathustra and Dwarf (detail).

Why did I decide to paint "based on" Zarathustra? Why was not I satisfied enough by simple book text? The fact is that when I read a book Thus Spoke Zarathustra, images appear by themselves. The text of the book is extraordinarily metaphorical. Of course, I will never have the strength and time to paint all the pictures that arise in my imagination. Therefore, it is necessary to choose the strongest from an infinite number of images. Nietzsche himself preferred music more than painting, so his works are full of music, I feel it. And since I'm an artist, it's easier for me to "grab" this musical imagery and embody it on canvas.

Some people believe that my paintings after Thus Spoke Zarathustra are a subjective perception of Nietzsche's images. In addition, most philosophers believe that philosophy can not be "depicted" at all. My biggest disappointment in life was that the overwhelming majority of people do not perceive the world at all in a figurative way. Such people look and do not see. Therefore, when one of such a majority begins to say that Nietzsche’s metaphorical language can not be translated into the language of images, then the point here is not in my righteousness, but in the fact language of images, then the point here is not in my righteousness, but in the fact that the eyes of the speaker are simply slightly blind. And if this is what the philosopher claims, then one thing I can say: he is not philosophical enough.

What is primary for me - a word or an image? What was in the beginning - a word or an image? I try to explain it. Every word that comes to me easily turns into an image. Therefore, it's easy for me to write texts. As the physiologists would say, both the right and left brain hemispheres are equally well developed.

By the way, the Egyptian god Ptah, the patron of craftsmen and artists was often portrayed as a bisexual androgyne. Priests, singers and artists prayed to him and offered sacrifices. After all, the ability to embody a word is a gift from God.

The process of painting "based on Nietzsche" continues now, because Nietzsche's texts live in me, it’s real. I am just one of those who have already memorized them a long time ago, but not in the sense of having learned it, but inwardly absorbing the content itself. "He who writes in parables wants to be not read, but memorized". So I memorized! When one speaks of the demonic Nietzsche, citing quotes taken out of context, (for example, that everything is "allowed", "push the falling one", that "going to a woman, do not forget the whip", etc.), then Nietzsche really can seem some kind of evil demon. But when one really reads Nietzsche, he perceives Nietzsche not in quotes, but in all paradoxical completeness.

I am saddened by the fact that I am alone in this field and that other artists are not engaged in the artistic embodiment of Nietzsche's texts. Perhaps this is because artists in the mass are not enough philosophers, or as Marina Bessonova told me - "they are mostly uneducated people" (although, I think, it's not just about education). Such people do not know how to embody a word, they do not see the word. Very often artists are engaged in cheap substitution - they make the subject of art their inner world and their problems. And since the inner world is often small and unsightly, then such art is also uninteresting and boring. Nietzsche regarded the human history of the past two or three millennia as a personal story. The inner world of this kind has the right for a long life in culture, in art! Such creativity goes beyond individual psychological complexes and garbage, which nobody needs and from which it is necessary to release.

 “With mummies, some fall in love; others with phantoms: both alike hostile to all flesh and blood—oh, how repugnant are both
“With mummies, some fall in love; others with phantoms: both alike hostile to all flesh and blood—oh, how repugnant are both to my taste! For I love blood’. Oil on canvas, 1997, 35,5x43,3 inches.

Once I was asked to describe Nietzsche's ethical teaching in two words, I tried and answered with a question that I should ask myself. "Who are you?" Of whining plebs, waiting for a piece of your pie and accusing everybody else in all the sorrows and misfortunes that have fallen to you? Or are you one of those who make their own life? And themselves are «the judges and executioners" for themselves, And this person honestly replied that in this sense he was a" pleb".

As José Ortega y Gasset said in his book The Revolt of the Masses, "The select man is not the petulant person who thinks himself superior to the rest, but the man who demands more of himself than the rest, even though he may not fulfil in his person those higher exigencies." The conclusion is simple - compete in all that you do with maximum effort and intensity. That’s what I am doing.

One artist I was acquainted with, once said, so and so, she paints a picture, writes a quote from Nietzsche, and that’s all - a masterpiece is ready. “Well, and what's the matter? - I replied – “paint a picture, put a quote on it. Go on, try! Let's see what happens!” For some reason, he did not paint a picture with a quote.

I know several artistic attempts of Nietzsche's interpretation. For example, the Russian artist Pyotr Fateev, as well as Pavel Filonov, created several paintings on the themes of Nietzsche's books (Nietzsche was unusually trendy in Russia at the beginning of the 20th century!) And after that they stopped drawing on Nietzsche - Nietzsche was in trend not for long. Nietzsche tried all his life to go beyond human limits, his life was "a cognizer’s experiment on himself" and a brilliant artistic action at the same time, so all attempts to follow him mechanically will never succeed. To approach Nietzsche, one must be "called out by his spirit." These are very accurate words - to be called out. If we are called out by Nietzsche, we can do something interesting.

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