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"Tempo, Tempo! The Bauhaus Photomontages of Marianne Brandt"
2005-10-11 until 2006-01-09
Bauhaus Archiv, Museum für Gestaltung
Famed for her Tee-Extraktkännchen and other icons of Modernist metal design, only a few examples of the photomontages of Marianne Brandt (1893-1983) are known to the public. These photomontages, made of snippets from the Weimar Republic's burgeoning illustrated press, constitute the critical complement to Brandt's metal works from the mid-1920s and early 1930s. Having eschewed traditional representation art - even burning her existing oil paintings in 1923 - and working with abstract, pure forms in metal, it was the new medium of montage that allowed Brandt to focus an analytical gaze on contemporary society and politics and on the dangerous side of modern technology that had become so apparent in the First World War.
Her works also challenge gendered conventions in representation and image new roles for women in society. Tempo, Tempo! The Bauhaus Photomontages of Marianne Brandt will be the first exhibition to unite and critically examine Brandt's work in the medium of photomontage.
Influenced by Bauhaus theories and methods, particularly those of her mentor and colleague, the Hungarian Constructivist László Moholy-Nagy, Brandt also brought her own distinct approach to montage. These fragmentary works invited women to see themselves not merely as reflections of interwar consumer society or as symbols of cultural change, but as agents of such change who were critical and politically savvy. Brandt's photomontages also address such themes as the representation of masculinity in the wake of the lost war, the dynamism of metropolitan life; the fascination of film culture, or the militarization of technology. Using photography to evoke senses beyond sight, these works explore varied formal approaches to the pictorial surface and potential meanings embedded within photographic materials. For many Bauhaus andModernist theorists such theoretical approaches were the keys to broadening a work of art's power in the dynamic new society of the 1920s. Tempo, Tempo! The Bauhaus Photomontages of Marianne Brandt will offer viewers a retrospective look at Brandt's interwar photomontages in relation to the constellations of ideas essential for interpreting these works. This exhibition will explore the historical and theoretical significance of the richly detailed, skillfully composed and visually dynamic oeuvre of montaged images created by Brandt in the context of the most influential art institution of the Weimar Republic: the Bauhaus.
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