Forbidden Simplicity - Chopping up Propaganda
Nezha Haffou, 2018.
Youth representation was framed in an aesthetic category for propaganda purposes, and pseudo-scientific research provided an essential back-up, a laboratory as it were, which 'fertilised' the Greek body heritage of male beauty with the racist 'Aryan' ideal.
Daniel Cabral's provocative artwork for Verknipt, 'Nazi is sexy' consisted of an assemblage of picture clips from Signaal, and a Greek male bust. They were thought-stimulating, as they addressed the impact of the Greek model of male beauty on Nazi sexual politics.
The artist exposed the propaganda that turned moments of horror and suffering into moments of leisure and amusement. Furthermore, manipulation resided in making that model subservient to the heterossexual body-politics of the 'Aryan Race'. One of the selected images showed half-naked soldiers playing chess at a beach. The artwork seemed to have diverted the meaning of the chess game; it subverted Nazi body politics by bringing to the fore their ambiguity towards homossexual desire. Paradoxically, the scenes both hid and underlined gay sexual dynamic. To underscore homossexual aesthetics, Daniel Cabral showed how sexy it was, hence 'Nazi is sexy'. The war setting became openly erotic, verging sometimes on the pornographic. Phallic forms were an important part of the scenes - the gun of a tank, a camera looking like a pistol... one of the images showed the face of a photographer looking through the viewfinder while holding his camera vertically, as though the latter was a microscope. By discarding the parts of the picture that would take away from the intended message, the camera became a tool for telling 'scientific' truth. Above all, the artwork of Daniel Cabral gave evidence that the truth about sexuality was not a natural given, but that it depended on the ideological angle from which sexual politics was approached. [...]