· episode V (2019/2018)

collage, 210 acrylic paintings on paper

The fifth episode, entitled Sorcery & Corruption, focuses on the figure of Nietzsche and the moments prior to the incident that took place in Turin on the 3rd of January 1889, when he embraced a horse that was being whipped, from which point he stopped talking and interacting with the rest of society until he died ten years later.

Nietzsche’s decline is interpreted by Enrique Marty with an expressionist stroke and a twilight illumination introducing aesthetic resonances of the romantic movement, all punctuated by surreal touches which, with irony or sarcasm, emphasise the grotesque and tragicomic quality of existence. Fear, irrationality, imagination, play and, above all, metamorphoses are sprinkled through a narrative that unfolds in different settings. Among the settings is the city of Turin, where the episode that led him to madness took place, and classical Greece, the place where the philosopher, in a return to the pre–Socratics, locates the origin of the tragedy that represents the decline of the West and that had its maximum climax in the recent 15th of April fire of the Notre Dame cathedral in Paris that took place on the 15th of April 2019.

Enrique Marty depicts Nietzsche’s life and emotional context, from his relationship with Lou Andreas–Salomé and Paul Rée to Richard Wagner’s decisive influence or the presence of his sister Elisabeth and his mother Franziska, with whom he lived during the last part of his life.

There are many references to the writings of the German thinker, in particular to the book Thus spoke Zarathustra. Such is the case with the animals accompanying the prophet when he comes down from the mountains, such as the eagle and the coiled serpent as a symbol of eternal return, or of the three transformations of the spirit, which turns into a camel (a pack animal representing submission to moral values), then into a lion (the predatory will and the conquest of freedom) and finally into a child (the beginning of evolution), mentioned in Zarathustra’s first speech. The artist has also included a giraffe, which exalts animal instinct against a disappointing humanity.

Enrique Marty confronts Nietzsche’s decadence with his own figure and includes several allusions to madness (the transformation of the piano into a monster and then into a vagina dentata converted into a uterus–refuge is very explicit in this sense); to the twilight or the fall of the statues–idols with which he traces his affective and philosophical genealogy; to the birth of man (Übermensch) beyond good and evil; as well as to the Ecce Homo, the messenger of the Apocalypse. Finally, fire, present throughout the whole episode, symbolically appeals to Heraclitus’ becoming and to the Dionysian impulse towards which, as opposed to Apollonian moralism, Nietzschean thought is swayed.