From Belligerency to Crippleness – the Debasement of Male Body

In a fanatically economic and competitive society the body must be at work around the clock. The constant mobilization of energies produces a kind of paralysis of the erotic body… The perception of the other’s body is increasingly sterile.
Franco Berardi, “Felix Quattari (Thought, Friendship, and Visionary Cartography)”, 2001, p. 28.

Arno Braker was a leading figure among the Nazi sculptors. He was a trumpeter of righteous belligerency and “noble” wars of conquest. But sometimes the propagandist doesn’t murder the artist in the same person – it subdues, represses and partially suffocates artistic talent without completely destroying the ability to notice reality and provide its genuine characterizations. Sometimes beneath the marches of propaganda messages and even against the conscious will of the propagandist himself we can discern some truth about human condition. Talent works like the Freudian unconscious – like a submarine can lie low hiding on the bottom of the sea, like an insect under menace pretends it is already dead, talent pretends it is deaf, mute and not breathing, but unexpectedly it can start to whisper the truth in a seemingly impossible circumstances. That is the situation with Arno Braker.

In Nazi art female nudes still correspond to the canon of the ancient sculptures, while the males have lost the harmony of body and soul, of vitality and the social context of living. They stopped to be beautiful, now it is their militancy and power what has come to be defined as beauty. The metallic and the wooden severity and ferocity of the faces, boastful muscles and psychological armor that transformed the human being into a weapon, are robbing all the energy from body. Militarism takes everything and throws the body into exhaustion and depression. Systematic exaltation of belligerency (Fuehrer’s commands for more wars) brings chronic libidinous exhaustion and deficit in the very ability to love.

Braker’s sculptures of belligerently glorious Aryan men show bodies with contracted genitals – militancy is inseparable from the unconscious and semi-conscious fear which is the other side of orientation on violence and globalist conquests. Aryan males lose not only the ability for tenderness; they lose the relaxation of body as a prerequisite for a generous genital embrace.

We can characterize this Braker’s sculpture as a representation of a propagandist with a blind face, enlarged hands and contracted genitals.

Look at this solemn carrier of pompous militancy with his shrunken reproductive organs.

Fear inseparable from fighting to death makes the face like a propaganda poster and makes the organs of love deteriorate.

Look at this Fighter the Terrible – the more cartoonish is the expression of fierce hate toward the enemies and the more enlarged are the fighter’s hands with a weapon – the smaller his organs of tenderness.

Arno Braker – “Torso of Apollo” (1943)

Braker was producing statues of haughty and ferocious Arian soldiers until 1943 when the German advancement into the world started to melt like the icebergs from the global warming. About the time when he made his “Torso of Apollo” even he was able to understand the impossibility of following the jingoistic ideology of conquering the world. His talent is awakened with his despair when he got that the world is not conquerable because is not for conquering, that the cost of the global war is too high, first of all, for the German race, and that the inhumanity of the endless military expansion is too extreme for the human soul to bear. Mutilated Apollo of the human race is a premonition of the future for those who are still prone to rely on wars for achieving their goals. Look how Braker makes Apollo’s opened-cut throat a mute scream of appeal which comes too late. It is with this sculpture that Braker became a serious artist. Here the truth about body/soul murder as inseparable from militarism becomes a central topic of his inspiration impregnated with paroxysmal grief.

Marino Marini – “The Boxer” (1934)

In this sculpture, Marini (who to his honor never was a sculptor of fascist cause) broadens the topic of mutilation of human body to cover not only its destruction by wars and psychological militancy but the inhumanity of the so called peaceful times which demand from people to be ready to buy their success and fame in an extremely competitive professional sports by the destruction of their own humanity, their bodies and souls. Marini depicts a professional boxer as a person with a crippled body and soul. Today, in the times when Ultimate Fight for adults and children alike is flowering and brings in millions of dollars in profit, Marini’s statement about the condition of human beings in sports and in sport spectatorship is especially relevant. The popularity of Ultimate Fight today in nominally democratic countries is an indicator of fascization of the human sensibility in the beginning of 21st century.