Thursday, 15 September 2011
Edited by Detlef Mertins and Michael W. Jennings
Getty Research Institute : 2010
280 pages; 22 color and 134 b/w illustrations
First published in 1923, the journal G: Material zur Elementaren Gestaltung (G: Materials for Elemental Form-Creation) helped shape a new phase in the history of the European avant-garde. Founded by Hans Richter, a pioneer of abstract animated film, G featured works by some of the important names in the advanced cultures of Europe: Hans Arp, Walter Benjamin, Theo van Doesburg, Viking Eggeling, Naum Gabo, Werner Graeff, George Grosz, Hugo Häring, Raoul Hausmann, Ludwig Hilberseimer, Frederick Kiesler, El Lissitzky, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Antoine Pevsner, Man Ray, and Tristan Tzara.
This edition, the first in English translation, preserves the original design by Lissitzky, Richter, and Graeff, and includes essays that explore the role of the journal in its time and in relation to contemporary culture. An introduction analyzes the principles of the journal, situates it in the culture of the early 1920s, and evaluates its achievements.
This book is structured into two parts: first, a series of essays which provide analysis on the major areas of visual culture explored in G and second, the translated-to-English facsimile of the journal itself. With an overview which situates G and its major contributors in historical context begins the essay portion of the book. Other essays follow, one on each subject in the book’s title: Maria Gough on El Lissitzky’s contributions to G’s graphic design; subsequent essays by Edward Dimendberg on film, and Detlef Mertins on architecture, are also well-researched and informative.
In the second part of the book, a carefully constructed facsimile of G is presented, that is true to original documents held in the Museum of Modern Art, except the German text was translated into English.
Friday, 9 September 2011
Schrankenlose Freiheit für Hannah Höch
Osburg Verlag : Berlin 2011
The life of the Dada artist under the Nazi dictatorship
With her scissors she cut art history, the collages of the grande dame of Berlin Dada movement, Hannah Höch (1889 - 1978), shook the Weimar »Beer Belly Cultural Epoch." Now for the first time a biography of the artist appears, who extensively discussed their predicament under the Nazi dictatorship. Previously undiscovered letters and documents explain why Hannah Höch could not leave Germany at the last minute.
Shortly after the outbreak of World War I in Berlin the Dada movement was formed. Hannah Höch is one of the few women in this illustrious men's club. After the takeover by the Nazis their work was considered as "degenerate". Her closest friends left the country. During the war years, she retired to spend in her garden on the outskirts of Berlin. Her house becomes a secret archive of the avant-garde. The biography focuses on the dramatic circumstances of her marriage to the 21 years younger Heinz Kurt Matthies. In 1938 he was arrested, and for the once cautious artist begins the fight for his release.