Hannah Höch - 1919 - Cut with Kitchen Knife through the Last Weimar Beerbelly Cultural Epoch

Hannah Höch

Cut with Kitchen Knife through the Last Weimar Beerbelly Cultural Epoch
photomontage • Berlin, 1919

Hannah Höch began doing collages in 1919 after her friend Raoul Hausmann introduced her to dada and collage. Höch "was immediately taken with the relevancy of photo-collage for making comment on the disintegrating social order. ... [F]rom 1919 onwards Höch used her collages to hold up a distorting mirror in the face of the immediate postwar years. Her style was to poke exuberant fun at the anachronisms of the decaying feudal order of Kaiser Wilhelm and the newly-emerging age of the metropolis powered by industrial juggernauts, all of which collaborated in the sort of decadent cabaret of life in Berlin in the 1920s...

"Cut with Kitchen Knife through the Last Weimar Beerbelly Cultural Epoch [depicts] the Kaiser, Hindenburg and the Crown Prince dressed as chorus girls, while the new emerging leaders of Weimar, Ebert and Schacht, with their consorts, flash through Valhalla-like space alongside acrobats and sports starts, all in the midst of a paraphernalia of exploding machine parts." [History of Collage by Eddie Wolfram, p. 82]

Tristan Tzara, one of the founders of Dada, described how to write collagist poetry:

"Take a newspaper; take a pair of scissors. From the newspaper choose an article of the same length as you would like your poem to have. Cut out the article. Then carefully cut out every word of the article and put the words into a paper bag. Shake them up and lay them out in sequence. Copy them just as they are. The poem will resemble you. And you will stand as a writer of unsurpassable originality and fascinating sensibility, though not understood by the general public." [Ibid, p. 77]

(And this before magnetic poetry!)


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