The Goethe-Institut Inter Nationes Singapore
cordially invites you to the official opening of the exhibition
 

Hannah Höch

1889-1978

Collages

Guest-of-Honour : Ms Braema Mathi
Nominated Member of Parliament
On Thursday 4 October 2001 at 6.30 pm
at Art Gallery, Goethe-Institut Inter Nationes Singapore
 
 
 
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n EXHIBITION  HANNAH HÖCH (1889 - 1978) COLLAGES  THU 4 – WED 31 OCT 200 
                        MON TO SAT - 9 AM TO 6 PM. Closed on Sundays. Art Gallery, Goethe-Institut Inter Nationes Singapore
                 The exhibition brings together the pioneering collages of Hannah Höch, created over a
                  period of more than 5 decades. Overlooked up to the sixties as "the hard working little
                  girl with her scrap book, bits and pieces, paper patterns and scissors," Hoches body of
                  work is now recognised and celebrated for its breadth, commentary and ingenuity, as
                  much as for her forward thinking. She is remarked to have "lived her whole destiny like
                  a collage".

 

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  R O U N D T A B L E    

   SAT 6 OCT 2001 ©  2 PM TO 5 PM

 Auditorium, Goethe-Institut Inter Nationes Singapore

   COLLAGES BY CONTEMPORARY WOMEN :

A ROUNDTABLE ON HANNAH HÖCH
Heterogeneity in women and art and cultural production engender this collages
of experiences, ideas and opinions inspired by the pioneering collages of Hannah Höch

 

Moderator     Chung Yuen Kay Sociologist ; Senior Lecturer, Human Resource Management Unit, Faculty of Business Administration, National University of Singapore

Participants     Irina Aristarkhova Lecturer /Theorist ; Asst. Professor, University Scholars Programme & the School of Computing, National University of Singapore     Amanda Heng Artist       Binghui Huangfu, Director/Curator, Earl Lu Gallery, Lasalle-SIA College of the Arts      Dana Lam Artist/Writer ; President, AWARE  Shirlene Noordin Visual Arts Project Consultant.

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n FILM SCREENING n   FRI 12 OCT 2001 ©  7 PM TO 9 PM Auditorium, Goethe-Institut Inter
Nationes Singapore Screening of  six Walther Ruttmannfs films (Total duration : two hours) - Berlin, The  Symphony
Of The City (1927, 65 min), Opus 1 (1919-21, 10 min), Opus 2 (1922, 3min), Opus 3 (1923, 4 min), Opus 4
(1923-25, 4 min), The Dream Of The Falcon (1923, 1 min), The Wonder (1925, 3 min), World Melody (1929, 55e)
and At Night (1931, 10e).   A contemporary of Hannah Höch, Walthur Ruttmann (1887-1941), a painter, filmmaker
and a keen musician who had made a radical experiment in montage of film and sound. His Berlin, Symphony of a
Great City (1927),is one of the most important and influential films of the Weimar period - a timeless demonstration
of the cinema's ability to enthrall on a purely visceral level. With high-speed montage techniques, creating a dizzying
series of images, it captures a day in the life of Berlin - the fierce and gruff spirit of a city in a very exceptional and
often poetic way.
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 Hannah Höch
( 1889-1978 )
Born in the Thuringian city of Gotha.  A pioneer in the field of photomontage and the sole female member of the Berlin Dada movement.
continued to produce innovative works into the
1970's. Much of her work focuses on the political and psychological dissection of the representation of women in the mass media during the Weimar era.

 

 
 
Dada

An European artistic and literary movement (1916-1923) that flouted conventional aesthetic and cultural values by producing works marked by nonsense, travesty, and incongruity.

 

Montage

The actual term montage - from monter : to mount as in fixing a photographic print to a piece of card - did originate in the cinema. It describes the means by which a sequence is made by cutting between different elements of a scene, or scenes which may have been shot at different times in different places.

 

Photomontage
 
A technique of making a pictorial composition from parts of different photographs and to the composition so made. Photomontage was popularized by the Dadaists as a method for political propaganda, social criticism, and generally to assist the shock tactics.
 
 

The German Dadaists made montages from stills taken from newspapers and magazines cut up for political effect. Raoul Hausmann worked with his lover Hannah Höch and friends John Heartfield and George Grosz right through the days of the Weimar Republic until the victory of the Nazis in 1933. Höch got the idea from humorous mutilations made by amateurs tampering with photographs of authority figures like the Kaiser whose dignified uniforms and frock coats were topped with the faces of nobodies.

During the First World War Höch sent home-made subversive postcards to Heartfield and Hausmann who reciprocated, pasting their own cut-ups over the printed picture side. While the censors carefully read the handwriting on the message side to see if it conveyed breaches of security or protocol they completely missed the anti-war messages the picture side carried through the public mails. The censors didn't expect to see anything wrong, so they didn't.

 

 

Why Höch ?  Why photomontage ?  Certainly, even the briefest

summary of Höch's career can indicate why she has recently
moved so decisively to center stage in art history and exhibition
making. Born in 1889 into an orderly, bourgeois family, Höch
was encouraged to develop her artistic talents. Studying applied
arts in Berlin during the First World War (when she also began
publishing lace and embroidery designs, a professional job she
would hold until 1926), she fell in with the circle of radical thinkers
and artists who went on to form the Berlin Dada group.
 
 
Her close involvement with this seminal movement of anarchic,
oppositional creativity was strengthened through her tempestuous
and intense partnership with the (married) Raoul Hausmann. (She
aborted two pregnancies because he refused to leave his wife.) The
photomontagists of the years immediately following the end of
the War -- especially the famous, uniquely large-scaled "Cut with
the Kitchen Knife Dada through the Last Weimar Beer Belly Cultural
Epoch of Germany" which she exhibited in the epochal exhibition
of 1920, the so-called "First Dada Fair" in Berlin -- established
(and continue to sustain) her reputation as an incisive commentator
on social, cultural, and political realities.
 

After the Berlin Dada group dissolved (the moment of revolutionary

potential having passed), pursued what amounts to two parallel, but
surely not unconnected, careers: as a painter and watercolorist, she
contributed regularly to Berlin and national exhibitions, showing
works that dealt in a symbolic, evocative, even romantic way with
themes of nature, birth, and human relations; and on the other as a
photomontagist, creating a large number of small-scaled works which
treat issues of identity, gender roles, exoticism, and fantasy, with a
visual and conceptual wit, now mordant, now whimsical. Her career
as an artist in both these fields continued without significant
interruption until her death in 1978.
 
 
She chose not to emigrate during the years of Nazi dictatorship and
war, withdrawing instead to a small house on the outskirts of Berlin.
Her personal life was marked by the separation from the abusive
Hausmann in 1922, a nine-year lesbian relationship with the Dutch
writer Til Brugman from 1926 to 1933, and a marriage of roughly equal
length to a German businessman. The postwar years saw a revitalized
productivity, steadily increasing exposure for her art, and renewed
attention in the context of the revival of scholarly and aesthetic interest
in Dada beginning in the late 1950s.
 
 
Readers alert to the recurrent concerns of contemporary culture will have
immediately spotted those aspects of Höch's life and work directly
responsible for her prominence: a bisexual artist who commented on the
social construction of feminine identities by deploying the quintessentially
modern medium of photomontage with its fascinating combination of
photograph's rhetoric of factuality with the imaginative, even abstracting
freedom of collage. Moreover, Höch lived a long, creative and more or
less independent life of apparently exemplary resilience. Kathy Halbreich,
the Walker Art Center's director, describes the artist as "a historical figure
with a particularly contemporary voice, [whose] photomontages ... speak
directly to the concerns of many artists and scholars working today."