Nazi Art

I’m a big fan of Nazi Art. We’re surrounded by Nazi architecture in Berlin and so most of its images (apart from the swastika, which in any case has been obliterated) signal ‘home’ for me. I live near Flughafen Tempelhof, the airport in the centre of the city that was used by the Allies for flying supplies in to keep the Berliners going during the darkest days of the wars. It’s an extraordinary building. Huge and exquisitely proportioned, it exudes limitless power and ambition, even now.

Usually I whizz past on my bike, but I’ve been walking there recently because I’m a wimp and the wind has been too cold to cycle through. Yesterday I wandered into a covered walkway that I’ve seen a million times but never entered before, and found the most marvellous gold mosaic light fittings, perhaps two or three feet in diametre. Very simple, mathematically correct and satisfying, strong yet warm. (see picture below)

I also snapped a shot of one of the eagles I’ve known for nearly twenty years that lives on a wing of one of the surrounding buildings. He’s a really old friend, but we’ve never talked. I’ve always suspected him of being a closet queen. Every time I look at him, I expect him to start kicking his legs in the air like a can-can dancer. Don’t you think those legs are a bit too feathery to be true?  My suspicion is that they’re the eagle’s equivalent of a toupé for legs. I don’t suppose bald, horny claws would have sent the same message as healthy, fat feathered thighs. And Nazis did love to smack their thighs with riding whips at every opportunity…

Berlin is Berlin, as OT Rinpoche might say, and artists tend to make use of the freedom they have always been given here to expose bizarre sexual proclivities. Hints of such things often simmer beneath the surface of a large proportion public and private spectacle, to some degree at least. These days, though, artists no longer hint, so much as rub your nose in their most disturbing fantasies without compunction. But again, this is Berlin. And in the 21st century, ‘subtle’ isn’t a saleable commodity in the global market. Evidence suggests that it wasn’t much valued by the Nazis either.

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