The fiery nature of the human spirit

Otto Mauer, opening speech at Galerie Springer, Berlin 1960

The fact that everything is in flux (an axiom already put forward by Heraclitus) is at the roots of an age which is rushing, with increasing acceleration and instinctive vehemence, towards an unknown end.

Rouge sur blanc – Sebastianplatz, 1962

Humanity is not a finished product of creation (only machines leave the production process in finished form): human beings are dynamic creatures who share in the evolution of the whole. Nature is developing according to the laws it is subject to; human beings choose and decide for themselves within the boundaries of their given nature. If Tachism was bent on the organisation of the accidental, the taming into the cosmos of what was chaotically thrown out, the dynamic images of Markus Prachensky harbour a deliberate demonstration of purposeful intention, illustrating with ample gestures the fiery nature of the human spirit. In order for the freely roaming spirit not to succumb to arbitrariness and degenerate into excess, it must condense itself again and again into structured figures, into signs that, like scripture, reveal content and significance by the mental rhythm of their movement (est ingenere signi, can be said of art in general). Physically speaking human beings are minimal creatures, lost in a virtually infinite cosmos, always exposed to the grip of constantly lurking death. Nonetheless they assign meaning and significance to the unexplored, unconquerable whole. Man is the singular being that understands itself and moves itself. The dramatic character of resolution which establishes the ethical existence of humanity and its history, grows and blossoms in the dynamic motion of these paintings which are filled with the joy of the first day of creation; revelling in the enthusiasm of a single colour, ascetic and inebriated at the same time, they are testimony to the fundamental fact that life and spirit is one and the same thing.

Otto Mauer, 1960