November 1, 2017
Hannah Höch’s 128th Birthday
If a picture is worth a thousand words, Hannah Höch’s pioneering photomontages speak volumes about gender stereotypes and politics, especially during the Weimar Republic era.
Born on this day in 1889, in Gotha, Thuringia, Germany, Höch was the only female member of the Berlin Dada movement, an avant-garde band of artists that rejected the conventional German Expressionist aesthetic of the moment. As a student, Höch studied applied arts, including glass design, painting, and graphic design. Her romantic involvement with Austrian artist Raoul Hausmann introduced her to the inner circle of Dada artists, inspiring her later photomontage (or fotomontage) collage work.
Höch showed her most famous photomontage, Cut with the Dada Kitchen Knife through the Last Weimar Beer-Belly Cultural Epoch in Germany, at the First International Dada Fair in 1920. Juxtaposing fragmented images culled from newspapers and magazines, including bits and pieces of movie star Pola Negri, philosopher Karl Marx, and a map of European countries where women could vote, this large-scale piece conveyed her stance on women’s roles in society, art-world misogyny, and current affairs. Later works further revealed Höch’s incisive perspective as a 1920s New Woman who lived by her own rules.
Created by Berlin-based collage artist Patrick Bremer, today’s Doodle uses photomontage imagery and the feeling of brushstrokes to capture Höch’s likeness as one of her own collage characters. “Höch and many other Dadaists have long been an influence in my work, as I expect she is to most artists working in collage,” says Bremer. “Taking on this project meant delving back into her work and visiting it in person at the Berlinische Gallery, and it has been fascinating to surround myself with her unique dada vision of the world.”
Happy birthday, Hannah Höch!
Here are some early sketches and in-process drafts of the Doodle being developed in Bremer's studio: