Secrets, 1990

The closed-off , inward-looking face of Secrets is that of Albert Speer, chief architect of the Nazi party and the Reich’s Minister of Armaments and War Production. The plural form in the title indicates this is not an allegory of secret or silence but of the way a person’s portrait shows or not the secrets, unspoken things or denial that they behold under their strict and formal appearance. In this sense, this portrait is very different from Himmler’s more elusive one (Himmler, 1998). Because it is a close-up, almost an ID shot, the contextualization of the scene is off frame and hence nothing explains why the subject doesn’t want to see and shuts his eyes in front of reality. However, nothing prevents viewers from projecting their own interpretation of what history taught us about Albert Speer’s life and involvement in Nazism, and what he himself said in the two books he published after his release from prison in 1966, Inside the Third Reich and Spandau, the Secret Diaries. Indeed, Speer doesn’t mention once the ‘fi nal solution’, which he always claimed not to have been aware of even though he was one of Adolf Hitler’s closest aides.