|Vertical-Horizontal Composition, Sophie Taeuber-Arp, 1916|
The first was Swiss-born Sophie Taeuber-Arp (1889-1943), a Dadaist, a Constructivist, and "considered to be one of the most important artists of geometric abstraction of the 20th century." The pan-European Dada movement arose from the chaos of the first World War, challenging the political system and the role of art. As part of her work with the Dadaists, Taeuber-Arp constructed marionettes and participated in dance, theatre and film. Much of her early work found expression in tapestry, clothing, costume and interior design.
|Composition with Circles and Semi-Circles, Sophie Taeuber-Arp, 1935|
Many of her paintings were inspired by the manipulation of a single shape, which might be cut into halves and quarters and painted in various colours and arrangements. Like many artists, she employed "variations within limitations" to explore her visual ideas.
Cut with the Kitchen Knife
through the Beer-Belly of the Weimar Republic,
Hannah Höch, 1919
Hannah Höch (1889-1978) is considered to be one of the originators of photomontage. A German, the Nazis considered her to be a "degenerate", and her relationship with the Dadaists was uneasy because of her feminist leanings. Photomontage is a form of collage that plays with scale and shifting realities to make new visual statements, often subversive. For example, a central motif in the above image is a headless female dancer juggling an over-sized male head.
|Sonia Delauney, coverlet, 1911|
|Sonia Delauney, Electric Prisms, 1914|
|Sonia Delaunay, Bal Bullier, 1914|
After viewing and discussing many images from these three artists, our assignment was to take a cue from one of the artists and further develop some of the imagery we produced in earlier classes. Some shells were provided for those who wished to play with positive and negative like Taeuber-Arp, repeating a single shape. Another option was to make a photomontage using images found in magazines, inspired by Hannah Höch. Some of us chose to work with cut-out shapes and colour contrast, à la Delaunay.
I chose to extend an idea I began in Week Three. I used black construction paper shapes glued onto mottled, neutral backgrounds, exploring the relationships between the pebble-like shapes.