The exhibition catalogue – in which this piece is published – accompanied an exhibition ‘John Heartfield: Photomontages Politiques, 1930-1938’ (Musee d’Art Moderne et Comtemporain, Strasbourg, 7 April-25 July 2006). The exhibition was a collaboration between the French Museum and IVAM (Valencia, Spain), with input from the Heartfield Archive (Akademie der Kunste, Berlin).
Heartfield’s satirical photomontages of the 1930s continue to defy neat categorisation. This article argues that this unique body of work needs to be approached from multiple theoretical perspectives, including Walter Benjamin’s defence of Productivism, Louis Aragon’s attempts to promote a Socialist Realist art that embraced avant-garde experimentation, and Mikhail Bakhtin’s celebration of oppositional popular culture. These perspectives were at odds with mainstream notions of Socialist Realism that dominated Communist cultural politics in the late 1940s and 1950s, and Heartfield initially experienced difficulties when he returned to East Berlin after the Second World War. However, his situation improved when his thirties work began to be used to illustrate the pro-Soviet and anti-Fascist ideas that became the foundation stones of the German Democratic Republic.
|Publishers name||Editions des Musées de Strasbourg|
|Number of pages||159|