Hannah Höch (Gotha, Germany, 1889 - Berlin, 1978), artist of multiple registers to the European avant-garde and pioneer of photomontage, is the protagonist of this exhibition which reviews the work of this key figure from Dadaism. This painter, textile designer and writer, studies at various academies and at the hand of Raoul Hausmann enters into the Dadaist circles from that time.
Höch participates in the excitement of Dadaism while she has contact with artists like Kurt Schwitters and Hans Arp, as well as associating herself to the group of German Expressionist architects and artists, Novembergruppe. These were years of bitter political battles and aesthetic clashes between supporters of the Neue Sachlichkeit (New Objectivity), the champions of Expressionism, followers of the Bauhaus and Dada insurgents. In this context the principles of Höch -translated into an aesthetic and conceptual hybrid- sound conciliatory and diplomatic, as they present a mild and peaceful vision -though not uncritical- of an era of misery and violence, largely directed against women.
Höch together with Hausmann discovers the technique of photomontage in 1918, which she develops in her work at the service of a new conception of woman's body. Without giving up painting and watercolours that are geometric and constructivist in nature, Höch creates human figures with a touch of humour and irony; here European features mingle with African or Japanese. Fascinated by the progress of women in the years during the emerging feminist movement, she criticises the frivolous images the media conveys of the new woman and creates some paintings on an androgynous theme and lesbian love.
Harassed by the Nazis, her name appears as an example of Bolshevik art but after the war she resumes contacts with the art world. At that time Höch is famous for exhibitions regarding Dadaism, both as an artist, and in her capacity of depositary of many other Dadaist compositions by other artists. During that period she creates new photomontages on the image of women from an acidic and mocking view, until belatedly, she achieves recognition in the Seventies with retrospectives in different museums. In this way, the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía joins this common international recognition of which she is already a necessary reference for feminist trends.
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