DADA face

Portrait of Raoul Hausmann (1886 – 1971)

Collage von Hannah Höch, Fotografie von Raoul Hausmann und Gouache auf Karton, 12,1 x 10,7 cm
© Berlinische Galerie / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2019

A pale black-and-white portrait of the artist Raoul Hausmann on beige card. The two syllables of the word DADA are clearly displayed on his brow and cheek. The photograph is enclosed in a frame drawn in red and composed of geometric shapes, spirals, text and figures: 1920, 3/7 + - 4, l’inconu, trés relativ, c’n’est pas Jesus, vraiment!

In 1920 Tristan Tzara, co-founder of Dada in Zurich, hatched an ambitious plan. He wanted to present the entire Dada movement in a compendium edition. The name says it all: Dadaglobe – Dada, the anti-art of world-encompassing significance. Over 30 Dadaists from seven countries were invited to send in their contributions accompanied by a photographic portrait. Hannah Höch and Raoul Hausmann of Berlin’s Club Dada were among them. But their portrait prints had technical flaws, so Tzara asked them to submit better ones.

Hausmann chose this photograph and stuck it on a piece of card. His forehead and cheek display the inscription “DADA”, painted by Höch. “Very relative, it really isn’t Jesus!” says the subtitle to this portrait, labelled “The Unknown Man” on the left. In the end Höch and Hausmann never sent the new photos to Zurich. Tzara’s project was thwarted by a lack of money and organisational difficulties.

Raoul Hausmann, Hannah Höch
trés relativ, c'n'est pas Jesus, vraiment!
Silver gelatin paper, gouache on cardboard
12,1 x 10,7 cm
Acquired with funds from the museum fund of the Senator for Culture, Berlin 1978

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