Its difficult to ascertain precisely why Salvador Dali seemed attracted to fascism, and drawn to something in the aesthetic, unless at something in less manifest sense, there was a convergence between fascism and eroticism. The eroticization of the fascist existed among artists, -according to writers like Laura Frost- who had ideologically little sympathy with fascist politics yet could create a fiction of eroticized fascism which helped define the role of fascism in the construction of twentieth century erotics.With Dali, certainly there must have been some carnal relationship at some level:…
…The tangle of conflicts and contradictions that had the surrealist artists in its grip is encapsulated in the “trial” to which Dali’s surrealist colleagues subjected him in February 1934, after he discovered a new hero: Adolf Hitler. The unbridgeable gaps between dream and reality, between politics and art and between art and life are all embodied in this event, in which Breton and others assailed Dali’s unconscious. The Fuehrer had given Dali powerful frissons by appearing in his dreams in the form of a woman with skin as white as snow. In his imagination he also pictured Hitler as “a wet-nurse with four testicles and four foreskins.” Read More: http://www.haaretz.com/weekend/magazine/how-hitler-looked-in-salvador-dali-s-dreams-1.327001
Walter Benjamin saw a tight-fitting relationship between distortions of modern erotic life and fascism and modern warfare on the one side, and political impotency on the other. Conversely, there was the close affinity of erotic and revolutionary passion where sexual desire transformed into commodities that demanded immediate possession and gratification, and was unable to sustain the distances between desire that were the source of the aura of love. The result was the disintegration of love.
Dagmar Herzog: Nazism’s appeal to the erotic lay not just in the “aesthetization of politics” to use Walter Benjamin’s phrase, but also in the way the regime addressed leisure, entertainment, work and consumption….as “submissive homeoerotic masochism” to an entire population. What we learn from examining the intersection of erotic desire and political responsibility can help us understand the appeal of Nazism.
Dali urged that Hitler be viewed as a surrealist phenomenon. He shared with those present his fantasies in which “the succulence of [Hitler's] breast pierced by a safety-pin symbolizes childhood memories.” In his mind’s eye, he said, the German leader “becomes a sort of grand metteur-en-scene of abomination, a Cecil B. DeMille of massacre” (an observation which, in retrospect, could be taken as a dark prophecy that would be realized in the decade ahead ).
Dali’s most often-quoted phrase on Hitler is “Hitler turned me on in the highest”, noted in The Unspeakable Confessions of Salvador Dalí. On the painting, The Enigma of Hitler:As Dali tells it, “Chamberlain’s umbrella appeared in this painting in a sinister light, made evident by the bat, and it struck me when I painted it as a thing of enormous anguish.” He then confided: “I felt this painting to be deeply prophetic. But I confess that I haven’t yet figured out the Hitler enigma either. He attracted me only as an object of my mad imaginings and because I saw him as a man uniquely capable of turning things completely upside down.” Read More: http://library.flawlesslogic.com/enigma.htm
According to Brandon, “Surrealism, with its emphasis on anti-authoritarianism, was intrinsically anti-fascist – and so, in the polarized 1930s, surrealists had to be communists. But of course the Communist Party imposed strict confines. Plus, Breton was himself a dictator. How could he accept party discipline? And how could the party accept him? It was an impossible relationship.”
At the same time, in a mirror image of their relations with Communist Party activists, the surrealists’ relations with the bourgeois patrons of art, who supported their work and the events they held, were also rife with tension. The surrealists were compelled to draw on the aid of the bourgeoisie despite the contempt in which they held the bourgeois way of life and ideology; as for the good burghers, they had to eat humble pie so that the artists could frolic and gambol without fear.
Far more problematic was the attitude Breton and his associates adopted toward women: though perceived as a source of inspiration, they did not play a central role in the creative activity itself. “Obviously surrealism, being anti-bourgeois, implied free love,” Brandon explains. “Nevertheless, the surrealists’ relations with women were rather conventional. Although there were a few surrealist women painters – Leonor Fini, Leonora Carrington, Dorothea Tanning – for Breton, women were love-objects, and did not form part of his inner creative circle. There’s a photo of all the young surrealists (male ) listening to Robert Desnos dictate a dream. And in the middle, taking dictation, is the sole woman – Simone Breton. Her dreams are of no interest. Read More: http://www.haaretz.com/weekend/magazine/how-hitler-looked-in-salvador-dali-s-dreams-1.327001
postwar Nazi chic had less to do with the real thing than with liberalism’s ‘powerful investments in . . . defining proper and deviant desire.’ The connection between fascism and perversity is itself a fantasy, Frost explains, since the actual Nazis were puritanical and radically detached. Their relationship to their victims was not at all like the intimate possibilities that can exist in s/m. Ascribing the bond between sexual master and slave to this emblem of evil was a very effective way to condemn sadomasochistic impulses (and for that matter, to make them even hotter). No wonder the ’70s, with their deeply ambivalent fixation on transgressive sexuality, were also the heyday of Nazi chic.Read More: http://www.cornellpress.cornell.edu/cup_detail.taf?ti_id=3715 a
Vincente Navarro:Dali also visited the U.S. frequently. He referred to Cardinal Spellman as one of the greatest Americans. And while in the U.S., he named names to the FBI of all the friends he had betrayed. In 1942, he used all his influence to have Buñuel fired from the Museum of Modern Art in New York, where Buñuel worked after having to leave Spain following Franco’s victory. Dali denounced Buñuel as a communist and an atheist, and it seems that under pressure from the Archbishop of New York, Buñuel had to leave for Mexico, where he remained for most of his life. In his frequent visits to New York, Dali made a point of praying in St. Patrick’s Cathedral for the health of Franco, announcing at many press conferences his unconditional loyalty to Franco’s regime. Read More: http://www.rense.com/general46/dali.htm
Susan Sontag:Of course most people who are turned on by SS uniforms are not signifying approval of what the Nazis did, if indeed they have more than the sketchiest idea of what that might be. Nevertheless, there are powerful and growing currents of sexual feeling, those that generally go by the name of sadomasochism, which make playing at Nazism seem erotic. These sadomasochistic fantasies and practices are to be found among heterosexuals as well as homosexuals, although it is among homosexuals that the eroticizing of Nazism is most visible.
Fascism is theater,” as Genet said. And sadomasochistic sexuality is more theatrical than any other. When sexuality depends so much on its being “staged,” sex (like politics) becomes choreography. Regulars of sadomasochistic sex are expert costumers and choreographers; they are performers in the professional sense. And in a drama that is all the more exciting because it is forbidden to ordinary people. “What is purely realistic, slice of life,” Leni Riefenstahl said, “what is average, quotidian, doesn’t interest me.” Crossing over from sadomasochistic fantasies, which are common enough, into action itself carries with it the thrill of transgression, blasphemy, entry into the kind of defiling experience that “nice” and “civilized” people can never have. Read More: http://www.politicsforum.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=24&t=109116