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Knife By Hannah Höch

Decent Essays
Hannah Höch was a pioneer in many ways. As the only female member of the Berlin Dada group, she stirred up reactions by the use of themes such as androgyny and gender roles. As one of the founders of the photomontage art style, she expressed the turmoil of Berlin’s visual culture from a female perspective. Höch primarily produced collages, often with the intention to dismantle the unequal “beer-belly” culture that, despite progressive ideas included strict social roles. A common theme in her works is androgyny, as she combined female and male bodies to create a unified character with unidentifiable gender.
After having left high school to care for her younger siblings, her university schooling began in 1912 at the School of Applied arts in
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Höch’s role in the feminist movement in the 1920s is illustrated in this piece by the placement of herself amongst the chaos in the collage. “The Last Weimar Beer-Belly Cultural Epoch” refers to the termination of the male-dominated German society where women were seen as nothing but objects, which she cuts with a knife. It also acts as a direct critical commentary on the Weimar era in Germany.
The chaos in the piece captures the Dada attitude towards the world, war and humanity: War is chaos, the world is crazy and humanity is destroying…show more content…
During this time, many progressive ideas regarding gender roles and sexuality arose. Images of the “New Woman” – one who is energetic, professional, androgynous and ready to take her place as a man’s equal – became a common sight in mass media. Höch rejected the idea and saw the concept as false and separating, a common theme in her work. The structure of the dichotomy and who creates the structures of social roles was an area of interest for Höch. These themes, in addition to other key elements such as androgyny, politics and gender roles worked together to make Höch’s work open up to feminist discussions.
Another important piece in Höch’s collection of works created during her time in the Dada group is “Zwei Dada Puppen” (“Two Dada Puppets”) created in 1916. Despite the name referring to children’s toys, the hand-sewn puppets acted as commentary on marriage in Germany during the 1920s. The title as well as the work itself implies that marriage is all about control, an act of puppetry. An alternative name for the puppets is “Mechanical Wedding Couple”. This juxtaposes the material and feel of the soft puppets, but instead implies Höch’s view on marriage: marriage is a mechanism with no regards for love nor
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