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Bertolt Brecht John Heartfield Stage Projections for Die Mutter, Berlin, 1952


Bertolt Brecht on the Slide Projections for “Die Mutter” 1952

“The slide projections for [the Bertolt Brecht John Heartfield collaboration] Die Mutter (The Mother) were expansive, very picturesque, with the contrast between light and dark strongly emphasized. They graphically reflected the atmosphere of the oppressive living conditions the workers had to endure in tsarist Russia: The factory towers menacingly over the little room in which Pelagea Vlasvoa’s life takes place; the jail holds the imprisoned son in inescapable confinement; the street in which the workers are demonstrating is hemmed in by tall, narrow facades and seems to be endless […]

In order to make them [background slides] fully visible, Pelagea Vlasova’s room was rigged out in tranparent material (Bizella and gauze), which the let the slide projects shimmers through. […] Although we kept perspective foreshortening meticulously to scale, the intended effect failed to materialize. We only found the solution when we added a moving projection, a film, to the static slide on the panoramic screen. The projection screen fluttered down from above like a flag, and the film was project back through an aperture in the panoramic screen.”

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Curated By Heartfield's Grandson, John J Heartfield