PRINT Summer 1979

The Photomontages of José Renau

The essence appears, the appearance is essential.


THE HISTORY OF ART has a certain arbitrariness—blanks, prejudices, omissions. Ever since photography was invented critics have looked upon it with distrust, as if it were an inferior form of art. As for photomontagists: some have been recognized—Hausmann, Heartfield, Höch, Berman, Szczuka, Klutzis—but the medium is far from complete acceptance as art. Exhibitions of photomontage are rare, or else they concern only dead artists whom history has already accepted. Russian collections contain treasures by Lissitsky and Rodchenko, but they are contemptuously catalogued as “designers.”

To discover the person and the works of José Renau is to fight against this injustice, to show the complexity of the relations that have been woven, since the 1930s, between art and politics; and, more, it is to give the example of an open-minded, curious,

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