Hannah Höch. Assembled Worlds | Zentrum Paul Klee

Hannah Höch. Assembled Worlds | Zentrum Paul Klee

One of the inventors of the modern collage, Hannah Hoch (1889-1978) is considered an important protagonist in the art of the 1920s. Between 10 November 2023 and 25 February 2024 the Zentrum Paul Klee is devoting a major exhibition to the German artist, which will for the first time focus on the close relationship between Hoch’s work and avant-garde film. A unique panorama of the avant-garde unfolds around Hannah Hoch.

Hannah Höch. Assembled Worlds | Zentrum Paul Klee
01. Höch Hannah. Flucht [Flight], 1931. Collage. 23 x 18,4 cm. Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen e. V., Stuttgart
© 2023, ProLitteris, Zurich
02. Hannah Höch. Eule mit Lupe [Owl with Magnifying Glass], 1945. Collage on cardboard. 19,5 x 25,2 cm. Private collection
© 2023, ProLitteris, Zurich
03. Hannah Höch. Friedensengel [Angel of Peace], around 1958. Collage on cardboard. 22,2 x 17,5 cm
Berlinische Galerie – Landesmuseum für Moderne Kunst, Fotografie und Architektur / Repro: Kai-Annett Becker / Berlinische Galerie
© 2023, ProLitteris, Zurich

‘Films on paper’
The focus of the autumn exhibition in the Zentrum Paul Klee is on 60 photomontages by Hannah Hoch. The works extend from her beginnings in Expressionism via her time with the Berlin Dadaists to the Surrealist trends after the Second World War. In 15 thematically organised spaces the works will be shown in the context of their time, and juxtaposed with masterpieces by artists such as Pablo Picasso, Kurt Schwitters, Fernand Leger and Wassily Kandinsky. Among these are 15 works from the collection of the Kunstmuseum Bern.

Twelve historic film screenings, including works by Hans Richter and Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, with whom Hoch was friends, clearly demonstrate how close her work is to avant-garde film. Hoch herself saw her photomontages 'in the border zone of film'. The exhibition reveals the fascination that cinema had on interwar art, and thus offers a media experience of the avant-garde imagery in the 1920s.

‘Montage’ and the power of images
Hanna Hoch was one of the first artists ever to make the world of media and the power of images the object of her art. She composed her works from newspaper and magazine cuttings - a technique that she developed from 1918 onwards, and to which she remained faithful until the end of her life.

She was the only woman in the circle of the Berlin Dadaists. In the spirit of a new start and the swift technological progress after the First World War, these artists 'assembled' (montierten) works from the fragments of mass culture. Accordingly, they described their pictures not as collages but as 'montages'.

HOch's early photomontages in the spirit of Dadaism ironically reflect social or political themes such as the power of the mass media, the relationship between human and machine and gender roles. In most cases her works - in spite of their narrative character - remain mysterious and contradictory and elude any unambiguous interpretation, let alone solution.

After the Second World War Hoch turned increasingly towards Surrealism and placed nature at the centre of her work. Abstract, representational and figurative motifs flow together in these works to form dreamlike landscapes. The garden of her house, in which she survived the Second World War in 'internal emigration', became one of her most important sources of inspiration.

The opening of the exhibition will take place on Thursday, 9 November 2023, from 6 pm.
Admission to the exhibition is free on this evening.

Guided Tours in English
Sunday, 19 November 2023, 3pm Sunday, 18 February 2024, 3pm

Martin Waldmeier

Assistant Curator
Kai-Inga Dost

To coincide with the exhibition, a publication focusing on Hannah Hoch's engagement with the visual culture of modernism will be published.

An exhibition of the Zentrum Paul Klee, Bern, and Belvedere, Wien, where the show will be on display from 21 June until 6 October 2024.

With the support of
Kanton Bern, Burgergemeinde Bern, Bundesamt fur Kultur BAK, Dr. Georg und Josi Guggenheim-Stiftung



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