Hannah Höch was the darling of Dada, hugely influential in the collage movement and an important voice of criticism during a time of national and international upheaval throughout Europe. Whitechapel Gallery in London has curated a major retrospective of Höch’s career, which began, as does the exhibition, in the 1910s, with study at two Berlin art colleges.
Following graduation Höch set to work and by 1920 was exhibiting at the seminal First International Dada Fair. In the inter-war years her commentary on racial and gender issues, such as the series From an Ethnographic Museum in which she spliced coloured and white bodies together with tribal masks, her integration of animals and people, and her political satire in pieces like Heads of State, earned the displeasure of the Nazis. Höch retreated to the sanctuary of the countryside outside Berlin during World War Two, returning to the city at its end and finding international acclaim. Höch had the ability to poke at the social change of the time with both humour and disdain, but always with undoubted aesthetic merit which was somewhat at odds with Dada’s anti-art philosophy. Grab a slice of art history at the East End gallery until 23 March.