Dr. Lutz Greisiger- "Messiah of Nonsense: The Gospel According to Johannes Baader (1875–1955)"

Dr. Lutz Greisiger- "Messiah of Nonsense: The Gospel According to Johannes Baader (1875–1955)"
Activity Date: 
Monday, Mar 9, 2015

When in 1906 the Stuttgart stonemason and sepulchral architect Johannes Baader met the young painter Raoul Hausmann in Berlin, he had already designed a ‘monument for all mankind’ of planetary proportions and had repeatedly made an appearance as the saviour of the world. In 1914 he declared himself to be no one else than Christ returned and shortly after the outbreak of the war, when he had ordered the Kaiser by letter to immediately cease all military operations, was dismissed as unfit for military service. In 1917 Richard Huelsenbeck arrived from Zurich and delivered to the loose circle around Baader and Hausmann the message Dada. Henceforth the members of the group would avail themselves of that ‘battle cry’ and would provoke the public with increasingly spectacular pamphlets, press releases and art campaigns. Baader, soon appointed as “Oberdada” (Supreme Dada) frequently proved to be the motor of this escalation and proceeded to present himself as “President of the Globe,” “Chairman of Mankind,” and “Head of the Last Judgement” ‒ in short: as messiah.
The talk gave an overview about Baader’s life and work, provided insights into the ‘mystical’ and cosmological speculations underlying his messianic claims and tried to answer the question whether all this was to be conceived of as “a madman’s hallucination, an incredibly sophisticated joke, a serious religious message based on some sort of higher inspiration” or all three at once ‒ and what it could teach us about modern art, religion, politics, or modernity as such.