WIEDERSTHEHE DOCH DER SUNDE (Stand Steadfast Against Transgression)
Exhibited at Gallery F 15, Jeløya, Norway, 2010
Photo and video
The exhibition “Widerstehe doch der Sünde” (literally: Resist Sin) explored violence, torture, the Christian understanding of sin and sinners and the relationship between physical pain and physical ecstacy. The point of departure was a cultural and historic reading of these themes, and how violence and pain play important roles in certain sexual fetishes and erotic fantasies.
The exhibition presented several photo series and two 16mm film pieces showing a complex spectrum of deviant desires, the relationhip between Nazism and homosexuality in the 1930s, as well as more subtle depictions focusing on youth and old-age, and the brutality of decay.
The photo series and 16mm film piece entitled “Nacht der Langen Messer” (Night of the Long Knives), relate to an actual historic event in Nazi-Germany in 1934, where A. Hitler ordered the massacre of key people in the paramilitary movement Sturmabteilung (SA). In the photo series and the staged scenes of my film, I sought to create scenic tableaux: Models dressed in original Nazi uniforms perform in a fictional play thats starts with intimate erotic dancing and culminates in the actual brutal massacre of the historic event.
The 16mm film “Widerstehe doch der Sünde”, which lends its name to the exhibition, shows a dreamlike tableau of a young man studying Gustave Doré´s biblical illustrations in a candle-lit room. Reality merges with fantasy as the young man falls asleep, and finds himself a victim tied to a chair in a fictional torturelike scene where two masked figures dressed in black cut off his clothes using large scissors. The sharp scissors touch his fragile body in an ambiguous manner, at the same time brutal and caressing. The music accompanying the different scenes is the main aria from J.S. Bach´s 1704 solo cantata for counter tenor ”Widerstehe doch der Sünde”. The lyrics “Widerstehe doch der Sünde, Sonst ergreifet dich ihr Gift” –“Stand Steadfast against Transgression or its poison will seize thee” are repeated throughout the scenes.
The photo series entitled “The Destruction of Beauty 1-3”, presents an interaction between two elderly men and a young man in scenes set in a forest. The first picture of the series shows the young man naked and tied to a tree, surrounded by the elderly men, dressed in suits and holding burning torches in their hands. The explicit brutality of this image contrasts with the tranquil Pieta-like atmosphere of the second image, where the young man sleeps, naked, in the lap of one of the elderly men. This series was inspired by Norse sagas and Greek mythology, including the Kronos myth and Saturn devouring one of his sons.