The World War, A Dance of Death, Goethe - "And when mortals fall silent in their torment, A god granted me the power of expressing my suffering."1921
Spirits of the Machine - "Death has freed the spirits of the machines, each spitting steel and fire with horrible delight,"
The Mountain of Skulls - "Too much suffering pervades the world. Death has grown tired of killing."
Power Corrupted - "Death drips poison into the heart of Power, and the night of evil descends on mankind."
Light and Love Conquer - "And behold, several thousand little children embrace belief in the future, Light and Love are victorious!"
Black Spirits - "On bloody steeds Death sends the black spirits into the land, hatred sets the world ablaze!"
The End - "Life cries out, Death is Dead!! "Procreation" is the cosmos's highest offering!"
Horsemen of the Apocalypse - "And over man and beast and earth the horsemen of the apocalypse spread unspeakable horrors."
Ancient Battle - "Death awakes the furies of war, the people are gripped like lightning and wind."
"I call these pages a Dance of Death. They are memories of an endless series of them that my mind conjured up in sleepless nights of experiences that weigh heavily on my heart and mind. I dipped my pen in my heart's blood and filled these pages with my love. The horrors that shook me in the fearful hours of the war and the hope that did not leave me, not even in my darkest hours, these I wrote down here as I felt them.
My work was created in dark times. Painful suffering often paralyzed my work. The day filled me with heavy apprehension; only the night was mine, that wonderful peace of the silent night. I thank her for allowing me to put into art what tortured me to the breaking point in the years of the war.
At the terrible end of the war, in those months of deep melancholy, my work began to take form. Pages fell into place and the work took on a finalized, cyclical form. The hope of the reconciliation of man, the victory of life over death, reached across the pages for each other from the first to the last and allowed me to complete my difficult journey."
Written on New Year's Eve in the year 1920.
Vienna Ludwig Hesshaimer
"In Hesshaimer's foreward to "The World War, A Dance of Death" he explains how the creation of this portfolio, completed over a span of several years, was a form of catharsis and a way for him to cope with nightmares and waking memories of his time served in the war. The constant artillery barrages, gruesome deaths, and deplorable conditions of World War 1 gave rise to a condition among soldiers known as "shell shock." Soldiers reported symptons, such as tremors, amnesia, headaches, and hypersensitivity to noise, without exhibiting wounds.
We cannot know for sure whether Hesshaimer himself suffered from shell shock, but the nightmares and melancholy he described suggest that he might have." quote source
Artworks found at Ketterer Kunst