Blog Laughter Is A Devastating Weapon - John Heartfield

Laughter Is A Devastating Weapon - John Heartfield

Posted Dec. 2, 2017, 10:58 a.m. by T

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John Heartfield – Laughter Is A Devastating Weapon

Tate Publishing

 

John Heartfield (born Helmut Herzfeld; 19 June 1891 – 26 April 1968) was an artist and a pioneer in the use of art as a political weapon. Some of his photomontages were anti-Nazi and anti-fascist statements. Heartfield also created book jackets for authors such as Upton Sinclair as well as stage sets for such playwrights as Bertold Brecht and Erwin Picator. 

Born in Berlin in 1891, John Heartfield, along with George Grosz, is widely considered to have invented photomontage, a technique of cutting up and manipulating photographs. During the 1930s Heartfield produced some of the most visually arresting and politically hard-hitting artwork of the twentieth century, appropriating the widely circulated propaganda of the time to create a biting critique of contemporary politics.

If you ever wondered what inspired Sakevi of G.I.S.M.’s collages and artwork, you will find the answer in this book, which is a lavishly illustrated, large-format survey of his work, the most authoritative yet published, draws on the superlative collections of the Akademie der Kunst, Berlin, and the David King collection at Tate Modern. 

Including more than 150 full-colour reproductions of Heartfield’s powerful work, both in its original and printed forms, as well as documentary photographs and recollections from Heartfield’s surviving family members, the book features a lively introduction by David King, as well as illuminating short texts on many of the works. 

Heartfield’s astonishing visual broadsides, aimed at the abuse and misuse of power, and part of his lifelong wish to create a fairer and more peaceful world, are every bit as relevant and cutting-edge today as when they were first published. 

David King, known as the author of The Commissar Vanishes, Red Star Over Russia, and Russian Revolutionary Posters put together this fine collection. He was art editor of the Sunday Times between 1965 and 1975 and is the owner of one of the world’s pre-eminent collection of Russian artifacts. His partner in crime is Ernst Volland is an artist and a photography collector.

With the original Marquette is displayed on one side and the corresponding AIZ cover on the other, it allows to reader to view the many artistic nuances of Heartfield's work that are lost in the mass reproductions.

An absolute must-read for anyone with an interest in collage art works in general and John Heartfield and his work specifically.

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