In post-war Berlin Hannah Höch met
and established a relationship with Raoul Hausmann, one of the
driving forces behind Dada. Together they set about
learning the techniques of photomontage.
Whereas for many of the other Dadaists, this art form was an
interesting experiment, later discarded, for Höch it was the
beginning of life-long love affair.
She rejected the literal and what she
termed "tendentious" approach of John Heartfield, and developed
her own unique style, which gained a wider audience and
appreciation right up to her death in the 1970s. Many of Hannah
Höch's pictures still look astonishingly modern, or rather
timeless, as the sophistication of her approach and the
universality of her subjects do not date.
Even her early efforts at the
"collaborative" Dada style stand out from all the others as the
work of a very talented artist. "Cut with The Kitchen Knife"
demonstrates her extraordinary ability to balance many elements in
a natural composition, besides being a very early example of a
female artist expressing her belief in the power of
Höch's tempestuous relationship with
Hausmann ended in 1923, but this simply heralded another step
forward in her creativity. She was much influenced by artists
outside of the Berlin group, notably Kurt
Schwitters who was a one-man Hanover Dada movement,
and Max Ernst from Cologne. Their artistic approach to the medium
was more suited to Höch's sensibility than the overtly
political propaganda of Heartfield. Schwitters neatly summed up her
relationship with Hausmann in the immortal words "Whenever she
needs him, she's there for him."
When the rest of the Dada group had to move out of
Germany in 1933, Hannah Höch moved to a remote house outside
Berlin and remained there throughout the 30s and 40s. Many of the
surviving original works from that time spent those years stored at
the bottom of a dried out well in Hannah Höch's garden, only
to be recovered when the war ended in 1945.
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