This essay focuses on the photomontages of László Moholy-Nagy and Marianne Brandt primarily during their time at the Bauhaus. Initially inspired by Berlin Dada's fragmentary montaged critiques, both of these photomonteurs quickly turned to a constructivist approach that placed photographic elements in dynamic relation to one another. While Moholy-Nagy was a prolific theorist who published frequently on the role of photography and related visual technologies in postwar society, few of Brandt's writings survive. Yet her montages address similar issues, particularly questions of how photographic fragments in a montage might engage viewers in a new way. In addition, Moholy-Nagy's and Brandt's photomontages resituate the mass media's representations of New Women and frequently create representations of the figure of the constructor, a hybrid technician-artist that each artist sought to embody. Through close analysis of their photomontages, this essay argues that Moholy-Nagy and Brandt were like-minded in their investigations of how the lessons of Dada and constructivism might be absorbed into a new form of Bauhaus photomontage, how artists and designers could help reshape society in the wake of World War I by embracing new technologies of vision, and how a gendered experience of modernity could be envisioned through photomontage.
A “Schooling of the Senses”: Post-Dada Visual Experiments in the Bauhaus Photomontages of László Moholy-Nagy and Marianne Brandt
Elizabeth Otto; A “Schooling of the Senses”: Post-Dada Visual Experiments in the Bauhaus Photomontages of László Moholy-Nagy and Marianne Brandt. New German Critique 1 August 2009; 36 (2 (107)): 89–131. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/0094033X-2009-003
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