Werner Heldt, 
Meeting (Parade of the Zeros)
Werner Heldt, 
Meeting (Parade of the Zeros), circa 1933/34

Werner Heldt

Meeting (Parade of the Zeros)
circa 1933/34

Werner Heldt was much troubled by the growth of mass political movements during the late twenties, fearing that they would be intolerant of loners like himself. He was therefore devastated when Hitler came to power, and fled from the National Socialists as early as 1933, taking refuge on Mallorca. In exile there, he developed an even more urgent concern with the subject of the “masses”, expressed in a comprehensive essay and some surviving drawings, which include the work entitled “Meeting” or the “Parade of the Zeros”.
Here Heldt depicts an immense crowd of people, constricted between the buildings of a big city, and chooses a radically simple visual formula for the masses: monotonous rows of zeros fill the majority of the picture. Black and white areas, which are recognisable as flags and banners, accentuate the uniform pattern. The uniformity of the zeros corresponds to the individual’s anonymous facelessness and his abandonment of self in a crowd: “Each man resembles the next and no one is himself” (M. Heidegger). In their unbroken rows, they recall an elementary force of nature, an unstoppable stream of lava that threatens to seize and destroy everything in its path.

Meeting (Parade of the Zeros)
circa 1933/34
Charcoal on handmade paper
46.8 x 63 cm
Acquired with funds from the Foundation DKLB and the Senate for Art and Science, Berlin 1975

© VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2011
© Reproduction: Kai-Annett Becker

 
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