16/09/ 2022 - 27/09/ 2022
The project Resistant Images: John Heartfield and the Satirical Photomontage is a result of long-term research by Vladimir Janchevski on antifascist photomontage and the visual culture in the Interwar period.
The beginning of the 20th century was marked by a series of dramatic events and turning points in political and technological, but also in an artistic sense, making their inevitable interdependence obvious. Unlike the pre-modern period, when art is almost exclusively at the service of the ruling elites, the modern concept of the artist has opened up space for individual expression beyond the control of the metanarrative of power.
This project, linking the old experiences of the pioneers of photomontage, with a focus on the case of John Hartfield, aims to examine and analyze the emerging situation, the political conflicts, and the image wars, addressing the role of the visual sphere in the modern era and the ways in which new media influences the formatting of communication and the formation of consciousness.
Taking seriously in consideration the latest theoretical literature in the field of visual studies and image science, this project, both through the exhibition and the discursive-educative program, aims to actualize some of the debates about the power and function of the image and the role of visual culture. The goal is to point out the specific processes of control of visual contents and their interpretation, as well as the ways through which they can be critically engaged in the direction of regenerating the social sphere.
In the exhibition, works by John Heartfield and his contemporaries such as Josep Renau, Manuel Monleon, Boris Klinch, as well as works by several anonymous authors will be presented (original posters, magazines, publications from the period 1921-1945), where the development of the technique can be seen and the formation of the recognizable iconography, as well as literature related to the topic (published 1945-2020), from the curator’s personal collection.
All elements are organized in several units, interconnected in the exhibition space, on walls, on pedestals, and in showcases. Among other works, the legendary photo book Deutschland, Deutschland über alles by Kurt Tucholsky from 1929, with a cover and photomontages by John Heartfield, will be exhibited, as well as the continuous screening of the 40-minute documentary film Heartfield: The Father of Photomontage (1991) by the Irish director Joe Lee.
The goal of this project is to acquaint the wider audience with the work of John Heartfield and the context in which the new medium of photomontage appeared, and its use in a clearly and precisely defined political engagement.
The project is also expected to actualize some of the debates about the power and function of the image and the role of visual culture, to indicate the specific processes of control of visual contents and their interpretation. Especially with the open educational-discursive program and the texts in the publication, to indicate the ways through which the creative processes of image-making can be critically engaged in the direction of regenerating the social sphere and protecting the common public good.
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