John Heartfield

PHOTOMONTAGES 1918–1938

The photomontages that John Heartfield created between 1930 and 1938 may today be considered as symbols of the fall of the Weimar Republic and Hitler’s dictatorship. The active opponent of National Socialism with masterly skills in photomontage invented pictures for the front pages of the Arbeiter Illustrierte Zeitung (The Workers Pictorial Newspaper) that were often surprisingly clear as well as forceful.

From an – undisguised – present day perspective this group of works belongs to the most outstanding artistic as well as contemporary historical creations of Heartfield’s work.

John Heartfield, anglicized pseudonym of Helmut Herzfeld, was born in 1891 in Berlin and died, after involuntary years in exile in Prague and London, in 1968 in Berlin. The exhibition will trace his artistic development. From the „Monteurdada“ who played with trivial pictures that he had come across to the man who created political photomontages that aimed towards distribution in the mass media for reasons of effectiveness. The legendary book covers that he designed for his brother Wieland Herzfelde and his Malik editing house are on display as well.

The catalogue focuses on Heartfield’s different fields of activity, his topics, artistic form, and political involvement with different approaches and from an international perspective.

 

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