Roland Fischer SZ 30.1.2021 english

Roland Fischer
The „soft power“ of art

So slowly one can already speak of „old memories“: My last, lavish party was in February 2020 an invitation of my Spanish gallery owner on the occasion of the art fair in Madrid, with delicious, typical tapas of the country, densely packed and loud people celebrated in the historic cellar vault of a restaurant near the Gran Via. Hereby also connected my until then last flight…, two days after the return to Munich Madrid was already in the 1.lockdown, all other art fairs of the year were canceled one after the other.
The 1.Lockdown with us in Bavaria had for me quite also its good. At first it felt like a mini-sabbatical – finally sleeping in because of the closed schools – then time to redesign the studio space, do research, deepen project-related topics. But now, in round two, the loss of social life and the usual travel hurts much more.
As if this stress test for humanity were not enough, we are experiencing in parallel, especially through the observable fragilization of American democracy, a questioning of our liberal, completely securely believed identity….

A topic for art too.

My project „Façades“, for which I had photographed worldwide in the financial centers of the large metropolises newly created by globalization, was carried along by the conviction that the initially economic dynamic of including so many new countries in a global network would also inspire cross-border, democratic coexistence on a social or cultural level. However, increasing populism, protectionism and the politics of prepotent state leaders have almost turned the „Façades“ project into a document of a „short historical epoch“ (of positive globalization). Now, in turn, the pandemy that pushes people back into their own four walls, through the daily reporting of the situation from all over the world, forces us to think in international dimensions, because this leviathan can only be contained together.

What can art contribute?

Art is too much „soft power“ for direct political impact. In gloomy times, however, it can very well formulate social utopias (Futurism, Dada, Neo Concretism, e.a..) or improve people’s moods: Optimism is an intrinsic quality of art. Why not make extensive use of this „soft power“ for oneself during the lockdown? To this end, please be sure to reopen the museums!

By the way, I got an early lesson in the restrictions of mobility: Also in February 2020, my wife was in her Chinese homeland for a few weeks for her annual family visit when the virus struck. Three times a possible return flight date was canceled, then there were no more flight connections, so that we had to hold out for several months as straw widowers…