German artist Hannah Höch (1899–1978) was the queen of collages. She was a pivotal force in the development of 20th century collage and paved the way for artists of later generations as Richard Hamilton (remember his Just what is it that makes today’s homes so different, so appealing? from 1956), Martha Rosler or John Stezaker, just to name a few.
The Whitechapel Gallery in London is honoring this pioneer – member of the Berling Dada movement in the second half of the 1910s and beginning of the 1920s – with an exhibition focusing on her collages by bringing together over 100 works. The show examines Höch’s career from the 1910s to the 1970s, from early works influenced by fashion and mass media to compositions of lyrical abstractions in later works.
Combining images taken from illustrated journals and fashion magazines, she gave commentary on society during a period and time of tremendous social change.
She critiqued racial and social stereotypes, particularly that of Germany, and questioned conventional concepts of beauty, relationships and the making of art. Her style was humorous and often moving.
The exhibition presents a thorough and rich overview of the artist’s photomontages and reminds us that her innovative presence survived through all these years in the work of later artists. Höch’s work proves to be still very much alive and kicking. Definitely worth a little visit.
The exhibition on Hannah Höch was on show until 19 March 2014 at the Whitechapel Gallery in London.