Last week I enjoyed a ‘mothers & daughters’ visit to see Hannah Hoch’s work at the Whitechapel Gallery in East London. We two mothers are part of a group who meet up to get creative at each others’ homes, roughly monthly, and our two daughters are both in the midst of art courses of one sort or another, so we thought we would all go to an exhibition together. Within our group this month we embarked on a paper collage day where we attempted to make a dent in the piles of magazines we all collect throughout the year, so it was fortuitous to have an exhibition ofcollage to go and see.
Hannah Höch (1889-1978) was a German Dada artist. She is best known for her work of the Weimar period, when she was one of the originators of photomontage. This collection of 100 of her montages and watercolours is the first to be shown in Britan. Her work often appears both whimsical and disconcerting with its dismembered heads & bodies repasted in unexpected formations onto unlikely backgrounds, such as in ‘Heads of State’ where she displays ‘portly German politicians in the swimsuits floundering against a backdrop of fine embroidery’.
Her work contained strong political messages seen to be against Naziism which necessitated her retreat to a secluded cottage where she lived out the war quietly cutting & pasting, producing images inspired by musings on such things as androgyny, bisexuality & melancholy. Her sense of colour & composition were the most striking thing for me, filling my head with new thoughts on representing feelings and issues close to my heart through paper, cloth and colour. Here’s a glimpse of what I produced myself at our group cutting & pasting day! Not too bad I thought, and must have been influenced by the proximity to Valentine’s Day …
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