A great era has begun: the spiritual ‘awakening’, the increasing tendency to regain lost ’balance’, the inevitable necessity of spiritual plantings, the unfolding of the first blossom.
We are standing at the threshold of one of the greatest epochs that mankind has ever experienced, the epoch of great spirituality.
In the nineteenth century just ended, when there appeared to be the most thoroughgoing flourishing – the ‘great victory’ – of the material, the first ‘new’ elements of a spiritual atmosphere were formed almost unnoticed. They will give and have given the necessary nourishment for the flourishing of the spiritual.
Art, literature, even ‘exact’ science are in various stages of change in this ‘new’ era; they will all be overcome by it.
Our [first and] most important aim is to reflect phenomena in the field of art that are directly connected with this change and the essential facts that shed light on these phenomena in other fields of spiritual life.
Therefore, the reader will find works in our volumes that in this respect show an inner relationship although they may appear unrelated on the surface. We are considering or making note not of work that has a certain established, orthodox, external form (which usually is all there), but of work that has an inner life connected with the great change.
It is only natural that we want not death but life. The echo of a living voice is only a hollow form, which has not arisen out of a distinct inner necessity; in the same way, there have always been created and will increasingly be created, works of art that are nothing but hollow reverberations of works rooted in this inner necessity. They are hollow, loitering lies that pollute the spiritual air and lead wavering spirits astray. Their deception leads the spirit not to life but to death. With all means available we want to try to unmask the hollowness of this deception. This is our second goal.
It is only natural that in questions of art the artist is called upon to speak first. Therefore the contributors to our volumes will be primarily artists. Now they have the opportunity to say openly what previously they had to hide. We are therefore asking those artists who feel inwardly related to our goals to turn to us as brethren. We take the liberty of using this great word because we are convinced that in our case the establishment automatically ceases to exist ….
It should be almost superfluous to emphasize specifically that in our case the principle of internationalism is the only one possible. However, in these times we must say that an individual nation is only one of the creators of all art; one alone can never be a whole. As with a personality, the national element is automatically reflected in each great work. But in the last resort this national coloration is merely incidental. The whole work, called art, knows no borders or nations, only humanity.
Vorwort zu „Der Blaue Reiter Almanach“ (1912), zitiert in: 1000 Artists‘ Manifestos. From the Futurists to the Stuckists. Selected by Alex Danchev. Penguin/London 2011, S. 35–37.
[Dieser Text findet sich im Reader Nr. 1 auf S. 271.]