london

Hannah Höch, Ohne Titel (Aus einem ethnographischen Museum) (Untitled [From an Ethnographic Museum]), 1930, paper collage, 19 x 12 5/8".

Hannah Höch

Whitechapel Gallery

Hannah Höch, Ohne Titel (Aus einem ethnographischen Museum) (Untitled [From an Ethnographic Museum]), 1930, paper collage, 19 x 12 5/8".

Thanks not least to Maud Lavin’s 1993 study, Cut with the Kitchen Knife: The Photomontages of Hannah Höch, the centrality of Höch’s contribution to Berlin Dada is now generally accepted. But, based on the evidence of Daniel F. Herrmann, Dawn Ades, and Emily Butler’s rewarding Whitechapel Gallery monographic survey, that relationship was a complex one. Their show concluded with an extract from a 1974 German-TV documentary on the artist, in which she introduces her work first as Surrealist and later as an exploration of the “inherent laws of abstract beauty” underpinning artistic form. Neither position sits comfortably with “anti-art”—but then, despite her political commitments, it seems Höch never really endorsed that Dada war cry. Raoul Hausmann was Höch’s Dada squeeze, but—to judge by the Whitechapel show—Kurt Schwitters, her great friend, was ultimately much

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