Tuesday, 6 March 2012

What was it like to be Eva Braun?

Self portrait

Israeli artist Roee Rosen's installation Vile, Evil, Veil - Live and Die as Eva Braun will be shown in a London from 21st March to 5th May at Iniva, in Rivington Place.

In this powerful installation the spectator, through images and texts, is invited to become Eva Braun, Hitler's lover, during the last days of the war "experiencing intimacy with the dictator, his suicide and a short trip to hell".

Says Rosen:

"The demon moves from one surrogate to another and 'belongs' to them all, he is ours. This process of self implication is always on my mind when meddling with the pleasures that art offers (beauty desires fantasies aesthetics) as bound with politics (power, discontent, reality, ethics)".

Powerful words.

Self portrait

When he first presented this installation in Israel in 1997 it caused such a controversy it had to be withdrawn after the Ministry for Education intervened. Now, several years later and in London, what will reactions be?

I will be going to Rivington Place and will try and attend the talk by Rosen scheduled for March 22nd.

Why? What is the pull of this? Why do I want to immerse myself in Eva Braun's personal tragedy and live her last moments, knowing that the object of her devotion was a man who was responsible for the death of thousands of people? And did she care about his politics?

It is that powerful statement by Rosen about self implication that really motivates me. It is also the knowledge that nothing is ever black and white and there were strong emotions involved in Eva's relationship to the Fuhrer.

Who was this woman? Was she really the "vivacious but flighty and not overly intelligent companion with a perverse adoration of the Fuhrer" as described by many? Was there more to her? Twenty years younger than Hitler, she chose to die with him. Angela Lambert wrote in 2008 a sensitive biography of Eva Braun, in which she is revealed as a complex character, in a complex relationship.

Self portrait

There are many women like Eva, who love men that are far from being perfect specimens of humanity. There are among them women who love convicted murderers, 'bad boys' par excellence as Sheila Isenberg discusses in her book Women who love men who kill.

What is it like to be in love with a murderer? Can one really be in love with a murderer? Yes, apparently it is possible and it happens more often than one would think. The women who love murderers are not retarded, impoverished, helpless. They often have some standing, they often work as nurses, teachers, social workers. They may have a background of abuse and loving a murderer may be a way to overcome it. Or they may not. So what is it? Craving for power? Craving for notoriety? Wanting to do something that goes against the norm? Is it but another iteration of that other common instance, women who love men that hurt them?

I am not really sure, I have not fully investigated this matter.

I know that when I go and see Rosen's installation I will have many questions in my hand luggage and a blog post will ensue . Meanwhile I invite you to reflect on some of these issues and if you care to contribute your views I will be most grateful.

(All photos in this post are modelled by Alex B. and were taken by AlexBphotography.)


  1. This comment was sent by my friend DG as an email and I am copying it:

    "Have a look at joel sternfeld, He pilgrimaged across the states, photographing places where terrible things had happened...


    Like the self portraits by the way"

    Thanks DG. The link is useful to others and the compliment about my self portraits , well, it is a true gift!

  2. More than anyone I know, the topic is of no importance.
    Sorry. Eva has left. And, maybe by now, she is a happy, reincarnated person who got to make her own choices without fearing the next day.

    On the other hand...I have a wart. But, it fell off, and that is OK.
    On the other hand, your spirit seems to have thrown away the calendar, and you wear beauty as naturally as ever I have seen it.
    I am not sure why I write that, except that I am an artist, and...well. Sometimes reason has little grip on our worlds, eh?

    Now, if I were in the UK, I would even look you up to paint from...however. Maybe not.
    I am not always blessed with "sales" so, perhaps if an excellent meal with a superb wine would suffice?

    1. If there ever was a flippant comment, yours is, Boneman. No further comment from me is required.