Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Photomontage and Hannah Hoch.

I made a Chanel themed collage last week. I was inspired by the music of Girltalk (Gregg Michael Gillis). He is a musician who makes music from mash-ups/remixes of popular songs. You can see some really good fan videos set to his songs on Youtube. The animated video by students at Concordia University is outstanding. I really like the whole concept of creating art from popular culture like Warhol and Dada. I wanted to make something that reflected my interest in contemporary media, fashion and advertising.

Hannah Höch, Cut with the Dada Kitchen Knife through the Last Weimar Beer-Belly Cultural Epoch in Germany, 1919, collage of pasted papers, 90 x 144 cm, Staatliche Museum, Berlin.

Hannah Hoch (November 1, 1889 – May 31, 1978) was a German Dada artist. The Dadaists referred to their works as photomontage rather than collage in order to reinforce the mechanical, industrial worker associations with that word. This term also served to distinguish their work from Cubist collages.

Hoch began making photomontages in 1918 - after the end of World War 1 and the beginning of the Weimar Republic (1919). She arranged images from printed media to comment on social and political issues of this time. She was dissatisfied with the actions of the new, democratic government which still seemed to be strongly influenced by the Imperial, Militaristic forces it claimed to oppose.

Her work also evolved to contain the main theme of gender relations, in particular women's role in the new Germany. Rather than serious moralizing, Hoch presented her ideas with irony and humour.

Technically her talent for layering and patterning images in a complex style reflected her skills as a patternmaker/designer in her job at Ullstein Press. She designed and illustrated textile patterns for women's magazines.

Her work was never taken seriously by the Dadaist artists at the time, most of whom were male. Women's work wasn't valued as highly as men's in those times and indeed women had only been granted the vote in 1919. But this was also a time of universal suffrage. Hoch used her work to express her own personal dissatisfactions while at the same time observing broader social themes of marriage and bourgeois life. Taken as a whole her body of work represents an important comment and observation of women's political role in Germany.