In her critical account of Leni Riefenstahl’s photography, Fascinating Fascism, Susan Sontag investigates the elements of Nazi ideology and aesthetics that characterize Riefenstahl’s work, as well as the return of those elements in the sadomasochistic and fetishist sex cults. Ina similar approach, the following thesis will attempt to give a criticism of Helmut Newton’s imagery, with particular attention to nostalgia towards fascist aesthetics, fetishism and patriarchal oppression of women.
The numbing effect Rosler assigns to the documentarian approach, a practice that seemingly opposes an oppressive system but in reality contributes to it, returns to manifest itself in Rosler’s own tactic of shocking the spectator.
This thesis investigates contemporary approaches of postmodernism both in art and criticism, and the authenticity and possibility of voicing disagreement with a political order through art.