By Robert Hughes
A fantastically illustrated hundred-year heritage of recent artwork, from cubism to pop and avant-guard. greater than 250 colour pictures.
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Soaring above the at horizon, that is the shell- attened panorama of northern France (Ernst had served within the trenches as an infantryman), the chimerical plane is part desktop and part undesirable angel, and the air of secrecy of worry that it indicates is especially faraway from the metaphors of angelic modernity that Robert Delaunay, many years earlier than, had extracted from Blériot’s blameless monoplane. Its girl palms supply it an air of tremendous coquettishness, and the 3 tiny gures of squaddies are powerless opposed to its visitation. It sums up the sensation of being strafed. If Ernst had any specific curiosity in Weimar politics past a usual mistrust of politicians, even though, it was once no longer manifested in his paintings. certainly, he left for France once he may, returning in 1921 to “my beautiful land of Marie Laurencin,” as he known as it within the name of 1 of his collages. 38 Max Ernst Murdering aircraft 1920 university 2½ × five½ ins: inner most assortment, united states 39 John Heartfield Adolf, the Superman: Swallows Gold and Spouts Junk 1932 Photomontage Akademie der Künste, Berlin 40 Hannah Höch lovely Maiden 1920 Montage of photos and ads fabric thirteen¾ × eleven½ ins: deepest assortment the main competitive political use of photomontage was once within the paintings of John middle eld, who within the overdue twenties and early thirties introduced it to a pitch of polemical ferocity that no artist has given that equalled (plate 39). the following, photomontage develops one of those fact of which portray isn't really able. If middle eld’s scenes of brute strength and social chaos have been drawn, they might have appeared impossibly overwrought. simply the “realism” of the picture, its ineluctably genuine content material, made his paintings credible and, to this present day, unanswerable. however the such a lot aesthetically talented political collagist one of the Berlin Dadaists within the early twenties was once a lady, Hannah Höch (b. 1889). engaged on a small scale and virtually by no means for copy, Höch laid forth in her photomontages an acrid, edgy imaginative and prescient, the gures adroitly deformed by way of slicing into, now not round, the picture engravings, the structures accelerated and looming as in an Expressionist lm montage, interspersed with fragments of equipment, ball bearings, cogs. Like Picabia, Höch was once good conscious of the eroticism of machines. She had a ne experience of placement, and in spite of the fact that dislocated the contrasts in a given piece may be – among flooring view and aerial viewpoint, close-up and far away shot, natural and mechanical substance, etc – the full montage was once accurately uni ed as a floor. From it rose an international straight away estranged, bleakly humorous, and poisoned on the root (plate 40). German Dada attempted to reject all culture, however it collided with an previous one: the assumption of human society as a Narrenschiff, a boat of fools, crowded with emblematic passengers of di erent rank and career, condemned for ever to sail with out arrival. The Dadaists have been as keen on their stereotypes as any Lutheran tract-illustrators were, and their paintings swarms with emblematic gures, as renowned German woodcuts of the 16th century have been lled with satanic popes, hoggish clergymen, and farting devils.