About This Artwork
In The Nazis, Piotr Uklański presents 164 tightly cropped portraits of famous actors playing German tyrants in SS uniforms. Culled from popular film, the collection of glossy images shows how trauma reemerges through story and fiction in slick, simple narratives that shape an understanding of messy, complex pasts. In a sinister way, The Nazis demonstrates the commodification and even glorification of the history of the Third Reich for entertainment purposes. Uklański slyly depicts the serial retelling of an abhorrent past, highlighting both the tragedy of World War II and its consumption. The work stirred protests when first exhibited in London in 1998 for its darkly comical presentation of the ongoing fascination with one of humanity’s bleakest moments.