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DADA ist GROSS

DADA ist GROSS

Die Kunst ist tot

Die Kunst ist tot

Berlin Dada Art Selection

Berlin Dada Art Selection

<em>Jedermann sein eigner Fussball</em>

Jedermann sein eigner Fussball

<em>Der Dada 3</em>, 1920

Der Dada 3, 1920

<em>Neue Jugend</em>, 1917

Neue Jugend, 1917

Berlin Dada & German Dada Artists Of The 20th Century

German Dada, concentrated as Dada in Berlin near the start of the Weimar Republic, ranks as one of the most revolutionary movements in the history of modern art. Art critics normally provide names for art, such as Cubism and Expressionism. In this case, it was the artists, contemptuous of art critics and what art critics considered art, who proudly proclaimed, “We are Dada.”
Explore the German Dada section of the John Heartfield Exhibition. Explore the Dada art movement of such artists as George Grosz, John Heartfield, Hannah Höch, Raoul Hausmann, Hugo Ball, Emmy Hennings, Johannes Baader, Richard Huelsenbeck, Kurt Schwitters, Hans Richter, and Max Ernst. These men and women literally revolutionized the world of modern art.
As World War I was ending, Europe was finally waking up. In Germany, as in other countries, much of the horror of trench warfare and the senseless politics of the war had been hidden from the public for years by propaganda controlled by the military.
John Heartfield had his role in distributing propaganda. He was tasked with handing out military leaflets that were spreading what he knew to be blatant lies. He promptly threw them all in the gutter.
The Dadaists of Berlin had seen what old ideas had wrought. They were primed to be blast apart the old and create something completely new. The Berlin art scene exploded. Filmmakers, photographers, and writers were exploring new and exciting techniques. The German Dada painters and collage artist were at the center of the artistic cauldron that was Berlin art during the Weimar Republic.
Berlin Dadaists shouted there were already too many paintings that depicted, in some manner, what could be captured with the lens of a camera. Instead of brushes, canvases, and pots of paints, Dadaists turned to cutting up and pasting together photos from magazines and newspapers. Rather than reflect reality, Dadaists tore reality apart. They chopped it up with scissors and pasted it back together to form something completely new. Geniuses such as George Grosz turned art sketching upside down. Rather than lovely sketches of models, Grosz drew emotions directly onto paper.
Grosz’s view of art had a life changing effect on a young artist who would become a central figure in the German Dada movement. That young artist was John Heartfield. His description of the birth of political photomontage (photo montage) is fascinating. It’s also almost as complex and challenging as a Dada work of art.
In 1967, John Heartfield, in a conversation with Bengt Dälback (Moderna Museet, Stockholm) said the following: “[…] how I got the idea of making photomontages. I’d say [..] I started making photomontages during the First World War. There are a lot of things that got me into working with photos. The main thing is that I saw both what was being said and not being said with photos in the newspapers. The most important thing for me was that I intrinsically become involved in the opposition and worked with a medium I didn’t consider to be an artistic medium, photography. [..] I found out how you can fool people with photos, really fool them. [..] You can lie and tell the truth by putting the wrong title or wrong captions under them, and that’s roundly what was being done. Photos of the war were being used to support the policy to hold out when the war had long since been settled on the Marne and the German army had already been beaten. [..] I was a soldier from very early on. Then we pasted, I pasted, and quickly cut out a photo and then put one under another. Of course, that produced another counterpoint, a contradiction that expressed something different. That was the idea. It still wasn’t all that clear to me where it would lead to, or that it would lead me to photomontage.
The John Heartfield Exhibition’s format is designed to allow for modifications and additions. If you’ve attended an exhibition of John Heartfield’s art, please Write To The Exhibition’s Curator with your experience.
Curated By Heartfield's Grandson, John J Heartfield