Michaela Jae Rodriguez
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In the Galleries: Against Nature

22 Psilano04 Copy
Berlin, before the rise of the Nazi party in the early part of the last century, was one of the most evolved cities in Europe regarding homosexuality.  Germany was both very open to the idea of a gay identity (the word homosexual was coined in Germany in 1869 as an understood identity) and at the same time repressed (Paragraph 175 [1871-1977] was part of the German Criminal Code that equated homosexuality with bestiality and child rape).

At left: Figures in Red, 2014

While Berlin became the capital of the world for open gay expression and identity, at the same time the Nazi party expanded the scope of Paragraph 175 which resulted in thousands of gay men being prosecuted, imprisoned and put to death.

Pacifico Silano's first solo exhibit takes its title, Against Nature, from the language of Paragraph 175. It uses the gritty images and color scheme of the Nazi party and of the Prussian national movements. Comprised of found and researched images, his own photography and ephemera, Silano considers the relationship of the individual to the collective as it relates to identity, memory, history, and the Holocaust.

Silano, born in 1986, received a BFA from the Pennsylvania College of Art and Design, and an MFA in photography from the School of Visual Arts, New York City. He has exhibited internationally, including group shows at the Bronx Museum; Context, Miami; Oude Kerk, Amsterdam; and ClampArt, New York City. Awards won by Silano include the 2012 Individual Photographer’s Fellowship from the Aaron Siskind Foundation; Finalist for the Aperture Foundation Portfolio Prize; First Prize at the Pride Photo Awards in Amsterdam; and a Work Space Residency at Baxter St/Camera Club of New York.

The exhibit runs through February 14.

531 West 25th Street
New York, NY 10001
All images: Copyright Pacifico Silano, Courtesy of ClampArt, New York City

PSilano 01
German Officer, 2014, Archival pigment print

Click through for more images from Against Nature >>>


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