“Dada triumphs!” This slogan was used by Hannah Höch, was pioneer of photomontage and a member of the berlin Dadaists from 1917 to 1922. (Grosenick, 210) The association of Höch with Berlin Dada is rooted in two related causes: her early involvement with the development of photomontage which stands as a visual summa of Berlin Dada’s exuberant condemnation of contemporaneous German society and its wholehearted immersion in the revolutionary chaos of post-Wilhelmine Germany. (Boswell, 7) The berlin Dadaists were the first group to fully appreciates that Dadaist strategies held for transforming art’s relationship to the mass media, and they were the first group to apply these strategies to the practice of politics. Berlin Dada’s extremely political nature was a consequence of the fact that it was the first Dada group to be formed directly at the end of World Was I, the world’s first full-scale mechanized war, a conflagration, moreover, that had ended with the collapse of the German monarchy. (Biro, 27) They react to the political issues concerning their immediate moment. They used the aesthetic weapons of collage and photomontage as an anti-artistic means of shocking the public and thus as a way of deconstructing a situation considered absurd.
Hannah Höch and her fellow Berlin Dadaists spoke of their works as “photo-montages” in part because they liked the anti-fine art connotation the term montage derived from the German term, meaning “to engineer.”(Boswell, 129) Although little vestige of such anti-aestheticism clings to our present apprehension of photomontage, the term still defines the medium: Photo, of course, naming it’s materials and montage, as engineering, specifying the dual process of actual, physical procedure and compositional organization or style. (Boswell, 129)
Hannah Höch’s “Cut with the Kitchen Knife” which is her major work, this photomontage unites representatives of the former empire, the military and the new, moderate...
Bibliography: Boswell, Peter, Carolyn Lanchner, and Maria Makela. The Photomontages of Hannah Höch. Minneapolis: Walker Art Center, 1996.
Grosenick, Uta. Women Artists in the 20th and 21st Century. Köln: Taschen, 2001.
Biro, Matthew. The Dada Cyborg: Visions of the New Human in Weimar Berlin. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota, 2009.
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