When artists criticize refugee policy by burying people who drowned in the Mediterranean in Berlin, then politics and art move closer together. This is what happened this summer of 2015.
So radical the idea, so radical its methods: It was announced that corpses had been exhumed from anonymous graves in which the perished refugees were buried, they were transported across Europe and registered for personalized funerals in Berlin, in fact, they were wanted before that Bury the Chancellery in Berlin and build a “cemetery for the unknown immigrant” there. That was then forbidden and the politicians invited to the funeral of a Syrian woman did not appear. A provocation for those in power? Definitely! Spectacular? More is hardly possible!
But can art really make politics or isn’t politics rather making art? After all, art always functions in a political and social context that needs to be taken into account: artists either avoid taboo topics or consciously use them as a provocation, art is produced on behalf of politics or expresses one’s own political stance – a broad field, in which the politically more or less committed artist moves. The history of the politics of art begins in the early high cultures: monumental buildings and sculptures demonstrated the power of ruling castes, regardless of whether they were priests or senators. The first cartoons targeting public figures and personal enemies are also known from ancient times. Resistance and commissioned art have always existed, one might almost believe that adaptation and resistance are inherent in art. Propaganda is part of artistic work.
Art makes politics
Art is not only in the service of politics, it is also actively involved in the current discourse and of course in the political developments of its time. The spectrum ranges from (picture) comments to critical and ironic stagings and interventions. When you think of political and political-critical art, the first thing that stands out is the numerous caricatures in mind that have always accompanied social and political life through the centuries. These drawings, engravings, or graphics, which are often extremely detailed, but also very minimalist, move somewhere between journalism and art. Before you do a great art here is the best paintbrush to use, visit for more details. They comment on current world events, the politics of a country, target politicians, or social debates. They do not always place themselves in the service of the opposition but also serve a government. The Catholic and Protestant princes of the Reformation period fought a propaganda battle by means of caricatures and leaflets, which until then was unparalleled. In general, caricatures were quickly the means of choice for denigrating opponents. These small drawings experienced their heyday in the 19th century, when magazines like Simplicissimus or The Punch were at the forefront of a satirical landscape that was characterized above all by its diversity, and when the caricature became the standard program of the daily newspaper as we experience it today. Even online it is hard to imagine drawing without it.