I was not familiar with the work of Klemens Hannigan until I became involved in the business side of distributing his first solo album, “Low Light,” in Poland and Europe. It was during this time, while reviewing the materials, that I stumbled upon Klemens’s artistic manifesto—his 10 artistic “commandments.”
Klemens Hannigan is known for his unconventional artistic perspective, so it’s not surprising that he presents his vision as an artist in a public manifesto. Reading it for the first, then second, and third time, it became a call to me.
Klemens, through his confession, prompted me to reflect on the nature of art and the artist. This manifesto not only reveals his approach to creativity but also opens the door to understanding how Klemens perceives himself as an artist. It is worth reading it and paying more attention.
1. You will be a nativist perfectionist.
Hannigan emphasizes the need to adopt a nativist, perfectionist attitude. This call to art that exudes simplicity while striving for perfection portrays the artist as someone boldly exploring the boundaries between naivety and perfection. His solo album “Low Light” serves as confirmation.
2. Making a fool of yourself is something you should take seriously.
Klemens’s manifesto suggests that creating works of art requires a certain level of self-awareness and the ability to laugh at oneself seriously. This principle opens the door to experimenting and discovering new forms of expression, even if it means looking “foolish” in the eyes of others. When you see his music videos, you’ll understand what Klemens means.
3. Examine your own navel with humility.
Humility and one’s own navel! This speaks to the need for introspection and a focus on personal experiences. Hannigan encourages a deep immersion in one’s own emotions and reflection on them, becoming a key element in the creative process.
4. You shall go out of your way to feel sorry for yourself.
The manifesto places the artist in the role of actively seeking moments of self-compassion. This challenge of accepting one’s weaknesses becomes a significant element of self-development. But is self-pity the essence of artistic life, or should we look to the future and transcend our everyday problems?
5. You will acknowledge your helplessness against art.
Hannigan reminds us that art is a powerful force that the artist cannot always understand or control. This is a challenge to humility in the face of art, whose dynamics often surpass human control. It’s also humility in the face of one’s own limitations. It’s not about being like Leonardo Da Vinci but about consistently being oneself as an artist.
6. You shall maintain complete control of art.
Despite helplessness, Klemens Hannigan calls for maintaining control over the creative process. It’s a balance between surrendering to art and having control over it, a seemingly paradoxical task. Who’s in charge here? Does art create art or does the artist shape art?
7. You will lay your heart on the table. Then you will invite people for dinner.
This principle emphasizes the need to open up to the audience and share emotions through art. It’s an invitation for participation in the creative process, leading to a deeper understanding of the work. Being an artist means giving one’s heart to the audience and fans, for whom the artist lives and creates. The artist’s table is not just for himself—it’s a table of community and the relationship between the artist and fans!
8. You are as dependent on your pedestal as it is dependent on you.
Hannigan portrays the artist as dependent on his pedestal, simultaneously emphasizing that the artist and the pedestal are mutually dependent. This understanding of society’s role in shaping the artistic image is crucial. The artist cannot only be on a pedestal. He must and should come down from the pedestal for those who love him.
9. Art has no sympathy for its neighbor.
Klemens indicates that art does not always have to be kind to other art forms. This statement can be interpreted as an encouragement for independence and autonomy in the creative process. Art is simply art. The artist should create their own kind of art, and only then will they be more recognizable in what they do and offer to the audience.
10. Art removes the veil from the artist’s head. Mercilessly.
The final principle of the manifesto points to the necessity of exposing the creator, revealing their essence without embellishments. It’s a challenge to honesty and truth in creative expression. No artist in a mask has a chance to be authentic. Fans will sooner or later tear off the mask from the artist’s face.
Instead of a summary
I’m not sure if I understood Klemens Hannigan’s manifesto correctly. Perhaps in some reflections, I went too far, or maybe I completely misunderstood Klemens’s message. However, it seems to me that the artist challenges traditional norms of art, calling for a combination of naivety with perfection, experimenting with seriousness, and opening the heart to the audience.
Hannigan portrays the artist as a contradictory being—helpless and controlling, dependent and independent. It’s a call to take risks, discover oneself, and share it with others. For me, Klemens Hannigan emerges as an artist seeking truth and authenticity in art, in music, and in what he does.
Even in creating wooden furniture! After all, Klemens has never denied that he is not only a musical artist but also a simple carpenter who creates beauty as he knows it.
Klemens Hannigan added one sentence at the end of his manifesto: “It’s all inevitable.” And let it be so!