Hannah Hoch exhibition at Whitechapel gallery, London

I visited the Hannah Hoch exhibition whilst in London last Wednesday and already being a fan of her work, I loved seeing the development in her work from drawing to collage and from narrative and figurative before 1945, to more abstract incentive within her work after 1945. Her pre-1945 work was evidently a result of attempting a joyful exploration of new possibilities after the time of hardship of the world war, but then she was very aware of the Dadaist reputation and moved herself to the countryside to avoid being influenced in a way she wouldn’t agree with and it was clear to me whilst walking through the exhibition, that her work changed and developed into more abstract means accordingly. For example, when the narratives became less obvious, her work became alien-like (potentially due to the fascination with space travel around the 60’s) by avoiding using immediately recognisable imagery and by animating objects by adding eyes and other human features to inanimate objects: her primary importance in her work had switched from primary source to abstract quality of composition as a whole. Thinking about an element of surprise for my current Field module, I think that Hoch apprehended an idea of surprise whether she meant to or not, because her narrative collages as well as her abstract work, had so many disconnected objects and obscured an originally representational function, allowing imagination to emote and act upon her work to understand the terrors of the world war.

The colours of her work also adapted to the time period, as she got closer to the 60’s, her work incorporated the colours of mass production and advertising. This is an example of how the corporate world effects the lives of people because it so heavily effected Hoch’s colour palette. Therefore, in terms of my subject module, I can consider that this could effect all areas of artwork; the colours that artists are unwillingly surrounded by through marketing and advertising during their time, are reflected in their own work as conscious components or not.




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