German photomonteur Hannah Höch (1889–1978) is best known for her association with the Berlin Dadaists. But her life and artistic career far outlasted Dada, spanning two world wars and most of the 20th century. And at the age of 83, Höch began to look back.
The result was Höch’s last--and largest, at nearly 4 x 5 feet--photo-collage, “Life Portrait,” created between 1972 and 1973. Though she did not originally set out to make an autobiographical work, the collage functions as a kind of self-portrait for the artist, looking back on her life and work while also ironically and poetically commenting on key political, social and artistic events from the previous 50 years. Höch literally inserts herself into the work several times, with photographs of herself at various ages (always identifiable with her trademark bobbed hair), and returns to themes and images which she had addressed throughout her oeuvre, including fashion imagery, news photographs, African art and pictures of plants and animals, which had become typical of her work after the end of the Second World War. London’s Whitechapel Gallery called it “a collage of collages.”
Hannah Höch: Life Portrait divides the monumental composition into 38 individual sections, as Höch imagined it, and offers explanatory texts and relevant quotations to complement each section. One of only a few English-language publications on the artist, this volume explores Höch’s final masterpiece, and the life’s work it represents.
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