Sunday, July 16, 2006

My Mother, The Nazi Curated by Raul Zamudio, The Artist Network, NY, NY December 9, 2005- January 25, 2006 Artists: Oreet Ashery, Domingo Sanchez-Blanco,Robert Boyd, Karlos CArcamo, Cleverson, Matthew Cox, Andrea Frank, Sang-bin Im, Teemu Maki, Emma McCagg, Megan McGinnis, Teresa Serrano, Svai & Paul Stanikas, Vargas-Suarez Universal “Born in 1913, as the illegitimate daughter of an Anglo-Irish grandee and a noble Spanish diplomat, she was early determined to overcome the slight of her bastard birth and life with her abandoned mother, who had taken rooms over a butcher’s shop in London’s Mount Street. She noticed well before she was nine, that considerable profit could be made from consorting with those men who had a title.

By the early thirties, her name was appearing frequently in the Court Circular of the London Times. Then, sometime in 1934, at the house of Sir Roderick Jones and his wife Enild Bagnold (both of whom she was to boast she had seduced), came the meeting with a former champagne salesman turned German Ambassador to London, Joachim von Ribbentrop. According to her boasts, she threw herself headlong into an affair with Hitler’s emissary, intoxicated by the elitism and uniformed elegance of the Nazi Party. Joining the “Ribbentrop Buro” and the Anglo-German Fellowship, she reveled in the pro-Nazi activities of the day”—Julia Camoys Stonor, My Mother, the Nazi: A Wartime Childhood Amongst the English Aristocracy

So goes the introduction to a memoir by the English writer Julia Camoys Stonor; a recollection fashioned with a postmodern sensibility that deftly meshes autobiography, literature, the confessional and a tad of tabloid journalism. But her work, from which the exhibtion My Mother, The Nazi takes its title, is more than a window into pre-World War II London and after. For far beyond the languid underbelly of intrigue, deception, and betrayal lies a panorama of a pathological milieu. And like a Saturn that devours its children, it is tale of familial and social cannibalism that forever can be retold, albeit that only the names of the victims and victimizers would be different. This exhibition, then, explores the neurosis of the maternal within a broad purview of its literal and figurative manifestations. Some of these include the mother of blonde, white supremacist, pre-teen twin girls that sing under the Pop moniker of Prussian Blue and dress in t-shirts with smiley faces of Hitler; or, how about a certain member of the English Royal progeny who was photographed dressed as an SS officer? Are these children solely to blame or are they just the products of a deranged upbringing spawned by a Mommie Dearest, a Soccer Mom, a Stepford Wife...and socialized by authoritarian maternal surrogates such as the Daughters of the American Revolution, The National Republican's Women Organization, the Queen, the Motherland...the return of the repressed..the infantile perturbations of psyches desublimated by what Freud problemtically termed the "vagina dentata"?—
Raul Zamudio

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