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Horrah, the Butter is finished, 1935 Photomontage.
shows a jolly family at dinner time gobbling down plates full of metal, cogs, wheels, and a bicycle chain, baby chews on a swastika-emblazoned axe and even the family dog gnaws, not on a bone, but a huge nut and bolt. It is Heartfield's spin on a famous speech by Goering telling the German people that 'iron has always made an empire strong, butter and lard only make people fat.' Maybe Heartfield was suggesting too many Germans were enthusiastically swallowing Nazi propaganda, something the Communist Party thought, or hoped, was impossible.
Adolf, the Superman: Swallows Gold and Spouts Junk (1932) Photomontage.
Critique of Nazi rhetoric and propaganda – the speeches that were such an essential part of the Nazi programme are shown for what they really were, not just bombastic but money-fed and representing the interests of capital, not the people: he swallows gold and spouts ‘junk’.
This montage was enlarged and posted up all over Berlin in 1932 – at the time of the rise of Fascism.
Use of distortion to expose truth – a paradox – by simple conjunctions on different scales or cutting together disparate details, a single work could create an explosive image which spoke volumes.
Dedicated to Oskar Panizza, an objector who was prosecuted twice for offences against religion and defaming the Kaiser.
Listing perspective, shattered snatches of city life – fragmented approach to the picture space = artificial nature of urbanity – infl. Of Expressionism and Futurism.
Black and red refer to colours of the Anarchist flag – Grosz also used luminescent red to expose the shadowy existence of the street: the drinkers and prostitutes of the cafes and bodegas, the bloodthirsty generals and priests whose features become more bestial as they crowd to the foreground.
Effects of whole street been X-rayed? Exposing it’s hidden vices.
By distracting attention from the centrally placed skeleton, (riding coffin) Grosz makes it’s impact all the more forceful. Death, as in so many medieval images, rides through the centre of man’s futile activities, unnoticed and unremarkable.
Clear message = society has collapsed into blood-lust and corruption in the hands of those who have proclaimed its defence. Grosz “The painting was done in protest at a humanity gone insane”
Unusual – Use of oil paint on canvas – High art technique – Grosz enjoyed paradox – between traditional values attributed to oil paintings (purchased by upper classes) and the aggressive intention of this work – aimed at overthrowing that class system.
Otto Dix only other Dadaist to employ such contrasts.
Biting comment on times – featuring all the ‘types’ Grosz had hated for many years.
Here Grosz is saying ‘those responsible for the world’s misery are the very ones who sustain the status quo and block reform’. In “Homage’ Grosz presented chaos in generalised form – here he zooms in, highlighting subjects – deforming them to create impact – stressing of specific features.
Pillars – 1. German nationalist with his monocle, the fraternity scars on his face, a swastika pinned to his tie, holding a sabre and a beer mug. The top of his head has been lifted off to reveal a cavalryman with the black-white-red national colours of his lance.
Journalist -2. Journalist with moustache and pince-nez, newspapers clutched beneath his arm, a pencil in one hand and in the other a palm leaf and an upturned chamber-pot on his head.
Democrat – 3. Social democrat, with his slogan “socialism is labour” – he too with the national colours and with excrement steaming in his head.
Behind these three other pillars of society are at work – the intense priest, the brutal soldiery – while in the background the city is already in flames.
Otto Dix (1891-1969) Otto Dix studied decorative arts at the Dresden School of Arts and Crafts from 1909-14. He taught himself painting and found inspiration at the Dresden Art Gallery.
He insisted that his work was deeply influenced by the Masters of the German Renaissance. He was greatly influenced by the writings of Nietzche who saw the world as a monster of force creating and destroying Life in an endless cycle between Birth and Death.
Dix volunteered for WWI welcoming the war as a sign that the Old Order was soon over and a New Age was on the horizon. He fought on the front line and saw service in Champagne and in the trenches of Artois where he fought in two major battles. Terrifying as it was, trench warfare also involved endless hours of waiting and therefore Dix found the time to draw in the midst of this misery.
In 1919, he returned to Dresden where he helped found the Dresden Secession. In 1925, he moved to Berlin and became involved with the November groupe. Dix is most often associated with the Neue Sachlichkeit (New Sobriety) movement that came to prominence in Germany in 1925. This movement criticized Expressionism for being too emotional and called for a sober and realistic view of the world which they found to be decadent and hypocritical. In 1927, Dix was made Professor at the Dresden Academy, a post he held until 1933. He could not work during WWII. In 1939, Dix was arrested on suspicion of attempted assassination of Hitler in Munich on November 8, 1938.
1914 fought in WW1 – experienced the horrors of trench warfare and gas attacks.
Work conveyed his disillusionment and disgust at the horrors of the war and the depravities of a decadent society.
Completed a series of 50 etchings called Der Kreig (The War) 1924 – “perhaps the most powerful as well as the most unpleasant anti-war statements in modern art”
Work was declared ‘degenerate art’ in 1933 by the Nazi’s – angered by his anti-military stance – dismissed from his teaching post – 1939 arrested for conspiring to kill Hitler, but this charge was later dismissed.
Biography Son of a foundry mould-maker, studied at Dresden Art Academy, began reading Nietzsche 1911, volunteered enthusiastically 1914 at age 23. August 1914 trained as artilleryman and later machine gunner. Autumn 1915 on Western Front, then service on Eastern Front, returned 1918 Western Front as aerial observer. Rose to rank of sergeant and saw service at Champagne, Artois and Somme. In interview 50 yrs after war stated: The war was a horrible thing, but there was something tremendous about it too. I didn't want to miss it at any price. You have to have seen human beings in this unleashed state to know what human nature is... I need to experience all the depths of life for myself, that's why I go out, and that's why I volunteered.
(1).Carried copy of Nietzsche, The Joyous Science and the Bible in his soldier's knapsack. For Dix learned that growth and decay where a necessary part of nature.
Procreation and death part of the life cycle.
The struggle for survival. The cruel cycle of birth and death.
"Self-portrait as a soldier" (1924)
Card playing war cripples 1920. oil and collage on canvas
"Shell hole with Flowers" (1915) and "Trench with Flowers" (1917) earth scarred with wounds from artillery like fertilizing plough furrows or female vulva. In war diary OD stated "Ultimately all wars are fought over and for the sake of the vulva".
He was interrogated in a Gestapo prison for two weeks but was eventually freed.
Dix embraced every aspect of Reality including its negative side. He was a critical and curious investigator who had a wicked sense of humor that contained a strong element of the grotesque. He often juxtaposed Horror and Humor. He had a particular interest in tattoos and believed that the face and hands revealed the most about human character.
Between 1919-20, Dix made a few woodcuts in the Expressionist style but he abandoned this medium for dry point and etching. He began etching in 1920 and especially liked the shades and tones one could achieve through this medium. Furthermore, it enabled him to portray physical deformation in minute detail. Dix produced a color lithographic series in 1923 but then did not return to this medium until after 1948.
When Hitler assumed power in 1933, Dix was dismissed from his post at the Dresden Academy and banned from exhibiting his work. Works by Dix were included in the Degenerate Art traveling exhibition in 1937.
Self-portraits made during war show view of himself as warrior:
"Self-portrait with Artillery Helmet" (1914) - man with halo and inner fire, martial enthusiasm
"Self-portrait as Soldier" (1914) - like wild animal
"Self-portrait of Mars" (1915) Dix as Mars God of war, chaos within self key to growth and creativity, fragmentation, rotation of stars, rearing horse, crest of antique helmut superimposed on own helmut, mingling of basic elements earth, air, fire and water.
arose out of Dix’s own experiences of the horrors of war. As outlined above, he had volunteered for service in the army and fought as a machine-gunner on the Western Front. He was wounded a number of times, once almost fatally. War profoundly affected him as an individual and as an artist, and he took every opportunity, both during his active service and afterwards, to document his experiences. These experiences would become the subject matter of many of his later paintings and are central to the Der Krieg cycle.
Post-War Pacifist Art - "Der Krieg" (1924)
Loss of his faith in machines, war and the creative possibilities of destruction and violence after the war. Post-war art attacked the indifference of civilians towards the plight of disabled veterans. Power of machines transformed into ghoulish instruments of prostheses.
Life and death struggle no longer leading to better world and supermen but war cripples and life and death struggle among prostitutes, murderers, gangsters. Reworked his war experiences in 1924 into powerful indictment of war and inhumanity of its destruction.
According to Eberle: When five years after the armistice he began to digest the nightmare of his war experience, these new impressions mixed with the old. War had not changed society, but it had changed individuals, among them the artist himself.
In retrospect, he saw the primal force of humanity set free in war but individual men's weakness, presumption, their wild grotesque greed for life, and the grisliness of their lifeless bodies in decay. In short, the war had not changed human morality but human flesh, `human matter', as Dix called it.
From a distance of several years Dix seems to have considered this one of the main results of the war. Of the preparations for his portfolio of war etchings, he recalled, `Goya, Callot, and earlier still, Urs Graf- I asked to be shown prints of theirs in Basel. It was fabulous... how human matter was demoniacally transformed.' (1)
Print sequence "War" (1923-24): "Dead Sentry" and/or A Dead Sapper Meal Time in the Trenches soldier eats rations oblivious to worms eating dead companions around him A Skull piece of scalp with hair clinging to bone, alive with maggots and insects. Life continues but independently of human life. In war drawings war was creative force like fertility of women. In post-war period OD turned to drawing prostitutes and victims of sex-murders. Perversion of his wartime view - war no longer creative/procreative but war as rape: A Shell Hole with Flowers (Rheims 1916) "Rape and Murder" () prostitute murdered and mutilated (sex organs cut open and exposed) while two dogs copulate in foreground. Similar change in post-war self-portraits - war brings out bestiality in men: "This is How I Looked as a Soldier" (1924) or "Self-portrait as a soldier" (1924) belligerent machine-gunner striding threateningly towards viewer, arrogant look about him Depicted war veterans as crippled (physically and emotionally?). Often placed his own name or likeness somewhere in drawing to suggest OD was both victim and perpetrator. Wartime interest in technology transformed into cynical interest in prostheses" "War Cripples" (1920)
I had to experience how someone beside me suddenly falls over and is dead and the bullet has hit him squarely. I had to experience that quite directly. I wanted it. I’m therefore not a pacifist at all – or am I? Perhaps I was an inquisitive person. I had to see all that myself. I’m such a realist, you know, that I have to see everything with my own eyes in order to confirm that it’s like that. I have to experience all the ghastly, bottomless depths of life for myself…
In the same interview, he also had this to say:
As a young man you don’t notice at all that you were, after all, badly affected. For years afterwards, at least ten years, I kept getting these dreams, in which I had to crawl through ruined houses, along passages I could hardly get through…
Son of a foundry mould-maker, studied at Dresden Art Academy, began reading Nietzsche 1911, volunteered enthusiastically 1914 at age 23. August 1914 trained as artilleryman and later machine gunner.
Autumn 1915 on Western Front, then service on Eastern Front, returned 1918 Western Front as aerial observer. Rose to rank of sergeant and saw service at Champagne, Artois and Somme. In interview 50 yrs after war stated: The war was a horrible thing, but there was something tremendous about it too. I didn't want to miss it at any price. You have to have seen human beings in this unleashed state to know what human nature is... I need to experience all the depths of life for myself, that's why I go out, and that's why I volunteered.
(1).Carried copy of Nietzsche, The Joyous Science and the Bible in his soldier's knapsack. From N Dix learned that growth and decay necessary part of nature, procreation and death part of the life cycle, struggle for survival, cruel cycle of birth and death.
Weimer Germany - Germany after the first world war experienced a new form of government, backed by American money. Moving away from imperialism to capitalism opened the door for rapid industrialization and consumerism's.
This created an explosion in two areas: first a rapid growth in mass media and, second, a dramatic redefinition of the social roles of women.
In response to this new culture a group of Berlin artists called the Dada Painters questioned the political situation and social ramifications amid the disillusionment of war and a dying imperialist government. Through a juxtapositioning of embracing modernism and criticizing modernism they reflected the hopes and fears of a new society.
Within this framework Hannah Hoch created a remarkable group of photomontages. Taking photographs from magazines such as Biz, form whom she worked, she juxtapositioned the modern German-woman with the colonial German woman. In doing so she challenged cultural representations of women raising questions regarding women's sexuality as well as their gender role in this new society. Through her images Hoch creates an unsettling view as she addresses the fears, and hopes for new possibilities for the modern German women.