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Acerbic, astute and funny, Hannah Höch was an important member of the Berlin Dada movement and a pioneer in collage.
Splicing together images from popular magazines, illustrated journals and fashion publications, Höch's satirical collages chronicle the intense social change that characterised the early 1900s.
Among the most radical works of the time, Höch never shied away from controversy. For example, Hochfinanz (High Finance) sees notable figures collaged together with emblems of industry; a humorous critique of the relationship between financiers and the military at the height of the economic crisis in Europe.
While she earned the admiration of many of her contemporaries – such as George Grosz, Theo van Doesburg and Kurt Schwitters – she has often been overlooked in traditional art history.
This exhibition spans the full six decades of Höch's career, combing over 100 examples of collages, photomontages, watercolours and woodcuts drawn from prominent international collections.
As well as the iconic images she produced during the Dada period, the display includes early works inspired by her time working in the fashion industry and the vibrant cut-outs produced towards the end of her career, such as Um Einen Roten Mund (Around a Red Mouth) which incorporates colour-print red lips, petticoats and crystals.
Höch was fascinated by issues surrounding gender and identity and used her work to explore the concept of the New Woman in Weimar Germany. Here examples from the series From an Ethnographic Museum, combine images of female bodies with traditional masks and objects and block colour layers to capture the style of 1920s avant-garde theatre and fashion.
What the critics say
"[Höch] should be far better known in this country. The Whitechapel has done her proud"
"The first must-see show of the year"
"Höch’s instinct for harmonising her shapes into a balanced composition is remarkable"