| Degenerated: the red line on name and origin | - |New Degenerate Art | Berzan Kejo |

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Prolog:

New Degenerate Art - I will renew this theme. I do not do it as a provocation or polemic as one or the other might think. I do not call the subject because I want to hurt the others, but to heal my wounds.
In Germany terms such as concentration camps, gas chamber or degenerate art are monopolized only on Nazi Germany.
I break this monopoly with my topic. I condemn it as it used to be. But for me it is very important to realize that it is the same today.

 
New Degenerate Art

I am Berzan Kejo
In Syria I was banned as an artist who did not belong to the Baath Party and therefore could not exhibit anywhere in public galleries and exhibition halls.
And in democratic Germany?
The Baath Party wanted me as their mouthpiece, so I could have slipped through as an artist to success.
In Germany, I have to adapt to the prevailing themes or fashion or I and my art have to stay outside.

Migration is the search for home, a place where one is "adopted". Where to be taken.

This concerns me: flight and its consequences.
It's my life. Thirty years ago I went into exile, seeking protection for life and limb and for my art.
My subjects are man, justice and human suffering, social inequality, isolation and exclusion.
Migration is not a one-way street. Integration is two steps.
Everyone takes a step to come together in the middle.

Since March 2011, the Syrian revolution has been pushing  me onwards. The deep flow of my emotions has become a torrent.
Democracy means protection of diversity, and every artist has his or her own priorities and themes.
As long as migrants are viewed as a burden and chaos, as perpetrators of violence and invaders, and all lumped together,
and not as a cultural enrichment of the "host country" horizons, all integrative formal efforts will be left ineffective.

Degenerated: thinking, painting or writing differently.
Degenerated, say my many cancellations.
Degenerated because the artist himself and his works are an intruder.
Degenerated: Any art that does not participate in the mainstream.
Degenerated: the red line on name and origin.
Degenerated: the child in the fairy tale of the Emperor with the new clothes.
Degenerated: do not paint what is prescribed.
Degenerated because the artist is too versatile.

In a few months I have received many cancellations from gallerists, museums and art institutions in Germany.
Among the hundreds of cancellations were three acceptances. These three were not Germans, but foreigners.
When I received the cancellations, I visited the pages of these cancellers. I saw unwashed underpants and rubber penis.

Who judges what art is?
The money and rulers whose strategy suits one and the other does not? Does it have to do with topics? In Germany,
the issue of flight and its consequences in connection with Syria, as I see it, is a taboo?

An honest welcome culture gives migrants more freedom to develop, give and enrich.
This welcoming culture gives migrants the opportunity to make the country more diverse, colorful and participatory.

I am not a mouthpiece for anyone, neither for a party, nor for a religion, nor for any other groups, but only for humanity and justice.
But no matter how I call myself here,
whether I am secular or not,
I am labeled Kurd, Middle Eastern, Syrian, Muslim, and sleeper, and so I am treated as well.
Even in Germany, I have to belong to a party or a religion or sect in order to even have a place in art and culture.

Degenerate thematic art is the fear of the truth.
Degenerate thematic art is Cover-Up.
Artificial degeneration is the covering of sunlight with a sieve.

For more than 30 years, I have been asking myself every day: When will I be treated like an equal person, artist and author?
As long as a foreigner sells kebabs or works as a street sweeper in Germany, everything fits into the picture.
But woe, we knock on doors that are not meant for us.
How can an artist become known if he is subtly blocked from the possibility of exhibitions?

Integration is not assimilation.

Being a stranger is a test that not everyone composes.
Degenerate: when the minority prevails over the majority.
Degenerate: when democracy becomes a clean dictatorship.
In Syria, the tyrant was rude, and it was understandable that as a stateless person and my art, I was declared degenerate.
In my exhibitions in Germany, I meet many visitors, who receive my works with enthusiasm and feel touched in the heart.
That's when I realize the huge difference between the people who are interested in art and the lobbyists of the prevailing artistic taste.

In Syria, all this is controlled by a family and in Germany it is dominated by a merciless stratum.
I jumped out of the frying pan into the fire.
In Germany: who thinks differently, or does different art or writes remains ... but outside!
This seemingly secular country only states that it is democracy and that everyone is treated equally.

I know very well that art can be a powerful tool, a noble way of changing the human minds, the consciousness.
Art can change it, renew it and bring it to awakening.

Because art is a delicate-looking impulse, it must not fall into the wrong hands, for the arts have ignited and fueled all revolutions.
I also know that not everyone can have this means or instrument, including me, because of the fear that the domesticated people will someday be in turmoil.
Because of this, it is methodically prevented from making any foreign and serious topics known in this industry.
So they are afraid of uncontrolled message of my arts.

The elite does not allow to include anyone except those who pursue their goal or who specialize,
such as kitchen art or bathroom art or ...

Under the guise of freedom of expression, other directions like mine are subtly cornered.
Because I am critical of Germany and the Germans, I am classified as degenerate.
I am subtly attacked, insulted, covered up, and destroyed. Whether in offices or on the street or in my German circle of acquaintances.

Degeneracy is racial hatred, discrimination
Degeneracy is the highest level of fundamentalism
Degeneracy is like a concentration camp with no visible barbed wire and lethal gas
Degeneracy is when the perpetrators play the role of the victim
Degeneracy is someone pulling out of his skin.
Degenerate art started in Nazi times. When will it stop?

After all, I have fought a lot with many accomplices of foreign cultural workers during these years,  for equality and tolerance in a petrified German society.
And it was worth.
In a society that sees strangers only as criminals.
And I'm proud of that.

I admit there is a very small layer in Germany, which looks outside their plates and wants to see what is going on.
But they are too little to make any change here in the country.

My art is my spiritual bread, my works are mirrors of my ego.
My art is also my resistance. Resistance against  racism, against exclusion.
I said that more than 30 years ago and today  I accentuate it even more.

Art is not just the beautiful side for me, art is also gray, dark and attacking.
Art is for me the spirit of change.
And also the formulation of justice and equal rights.

All this in Germany in the supposed land of poets and thinkers.

But do not forget:
Degenerate creates more resistance, strength, courage and creativity to fight.
30 years struggle for freedom and justice for man and the arts.

This kind of call or the thematization of degenerated arts is my only letter to introduce myself and my arts well and it does not come out of the blue, but from deep experiences that have had a profound effect on me and my art, like a branded stamp for eternity.
And because I'm very sure that I'm not alone and that there are still a lot of creators with my perspective who have had these experiences, I want to come to global communication through modern degenerate art and its new implications.
I want to develop this topic widely and internationalize.

I'm like the fire: the more you blow in, the harder I get.
I'm not looking for enemies, but for friends, on an equal status.
I'm a fertile tree looking for its place in the plantation.

"Whoever fights can lose, but whoever does not fight has already lost."












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