kaleidoscope of time:
“Dada Review”

Hannah Höch (1889 – 1978)

Collage by Hannah Höch, Gouache and watercolour on cardboard, 43,7 x 34,6 cm
© VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2019, Repro: Kai-Annett Becker

A collage of photographs and newspaper headlines. Dark lines and shapes provide the structure. Men spread across the picture are the dominant element. Left: soldiers, some without heads. Centre: ruling politicians Friedrich Ebert and Gustav Noske in swimming trunks. Right in a cloud of smoke: “DaDA, 1919”.

It is a parody of the “gigantic nonsense of the world”: Hannah Höch (1889 –1978), the only woman among Berlin’s Dadaists, made this collage in 1919 from magazine photos and fragments of text. She found them in the “Berliner Illustrirte Zeitung”, an illustrated paper for a mass readership covering a range of topics from serious politics to major and minor celebrities and faits divers. It was a treasure chest for the artist in search of material for her grotesquely alienating photomontages.

“Dada Review” is a multi-layered, ironic, visual digest of the times. At the centre of this kaleidoscope of words and photographs we see the newly elected German president Friedrich Ebert in his swimming trunks – although he also wears black leather boots to protect him “from damp feet”. Can a man like this command respect? Above him on the upper margin hovers Woodrow Wilson, US president and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, as an angel of peace – just at a time when Germany, having lost the First World War, was busily engaged in tough negotiations with the victors about the reparations it would have to pay.

Gouache and watercolour on cardboard
43,7 x 34,6 cm
Acquired with funds from the Press Foundation "Der Tagesspiegel" 1986

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