Ich kenne nur Paragraphen(I Only Know Legal Paragraphs)

john heartfield political collage I Only Know Legal Paragraphs

I Only Know Legal Paragraphs


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At first glance, viewers might think the twisted head and hands of the legal figure resemble musical staffs. It gives the impression the mind and the actions of a judge have been twisted into some strange sense of justice.

A good friend of the exhibition, Phil White, made it clear that the twisted head is actually a montage of symbols that appear in legal paragraphs. This gives Heartfield’s collage an entirely different perspective. What is right and wrong in a twisted society is not important. It only matters what is legal. In other words, what are the rules. For example, Donald Trump wants judges to agree that torturing captives and killing women and children civilians is legal. Therefore, it must be right.

The symbolism in this collage reveals both the depth of John Heartfield’s knowledge of imagery and symbolism, as well as his ability to use that knowledge to make a visual statement.