Dada & Hannah Hoch

This is my first post for Graphic Design: Working with a Client. Its so satisfying to have actually reached this stage!! I’ve just moved all my previous graphic design blog posts to an archive area; its been interesting to look through old work, and refresh my memory. I’m hoping having this old work on hand will help me reflect, and further develop ideas.

What I’ve been up to meantime:

Just watched a BBC documentary by Vic Reeves, about Dada. Along with explaining the origins and history of the art movement, he interviewed various artists and satirists from the present day, such as the graphic designer Neville Brody

..the artist Cornelia Parker

and the wonderful Terry Gillingham. (Not sure he even needs a link?!)

I liked the observation that many people since Dada have continued the general theme of nonsense, humour or political satire, but without necessarily conciously being influenced by the movement. I think it highlights the fact that we are so often keen to parcel up inspiration with a neat bow – ‘What are your influences?’, ‘Where do your ideas come from?’ – well, sometimes its just the gift of hindsight that allows us to draw a timeline, or point to a specific source. I like to think that we humans enjoy subverting and playing with ideas, sometimes spontaneously. We may even unknowingly re-produce what has gone before.

That said, sometimes its great to very deliberately seek inspiration from artists – and this programme has inspired me to find out more about Hannah Hoch. All I know about her is that she created political photomontage. I will report back when I have more to say…

OK. So now I know her studies were interrupted for a time while she stayed home and cared for her younger sister, but she was then able to attend the Berlin School of Applied Arts, studying glass design and graphic arts. After training, she worked in the area of surface design, applying her skills to designing dress and embroidery patterns.

Hoch had a seven year affair with Dadaist member Raoul Hausmann. By all accounts he sounds like a difficult and sometimes aggressive chap, who had little respect for her, or his wife! Houseman’s rejection of Hoch helped spur her anger towards the treatment of women during this time. (Not that Hanna should have been sleeping with someone else’s husband though!)

I really admire Hanna Hoch’s spirit – these seemingly liberal male artists didn’t want to accept a woman into their group, and often downgraded her status with a casual lack of respect. I doubt it was malice – I suspect she just didn’t exist as an equal in their minds.

How much has changed? Honestly, I’m just not sure. I love Vic Reeves, but even this documentary proudly mentioned Hanna Hoch holding her own in a male dominated world, only to spend the entire programme interviewing men – with one exception – Cornelia Parker. Thing is, women probably wouldn’t accidentally assemble an all female discussion. We just don’t think that way! I don’t think men are being cruel or disrespectful. They just don’t tend to notice when its All-About-Them. And if I’m right, how do we ever redress the balance?öch


Please note posts below this point were uploaded during graphic design 1.


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