"Es ist nicht Dada Unsinn ist - aber das Wesen unserer Zeit, dass Unsinn ist."

"It’s not Dada that is nonsense--but the essence of our age that is nonsense."

-The Dadaists

Sunday, March 20, 2011

April 15, 1929
Feminism and the “New Woman”
"None of these men were satisfied with just an ordinary woman."
            On account of my last entry, I introduced Til Brugman, who is now my lover living in Hague, Netherlands. Yes, I do confirm my bisexuality and this has taken a toll on some of my artwork. As you can see that some collages include men and women submerged into one body. However, I will go in detail on that matter later. Being on the subject of women, brings my next topic I would like to share with you. Feminism. This act of defending and establishing women’s equality has remained in my life since the beginnings of my career. Especially in an environment when I remained the only female in the Berlin Dada movement, there was much rejection to my work.
            Although I had colleagues such as Kurt Schwitters and Piet Mondrian to support me in my work, I still had objections. One person in particular who had many things to say about my gender was Hans Richter, a member of the Berlin Dada movement. I recall a moment when he referred to me as the “quiet girl” with a “small voice.” Angered I spoke out, but in a society where men are above women, what could my voice do? So I turned to my art and expressed my thoughts. This had a bigger and better voice. Not only was I denounced by Richter, Mr. Hausmann also set aside my work, along with Mr. Grosz and Heartfield who went against my involvement in the previous 1920 Dada Fair. They had never accepted me as an equal. Painful as it was, I endured the criticism and spoke against the hypocrisy of the Berlin Dada movement through my montages.
            Moving forward with my artwork, I was exhibited in Netherlands and several other German cities in 1928. My development in Dadaism during the 1920s involves a great deal with the “New Woman”. This new concept of a new woman aroused after World War I, when the traditional middle-class attitudes of sexuality began to break down. Women adopted new styles of clothes, cosmetics, and hairstyles. Our physical appearance was changed, while our bodies were more exposed. This defined the concept of the “New Women”. However, society did not see the impact it took on women. Therefore, I used the Dada arts to depict the women’s role in the new mass culture. Yes, we were offered new freedoms as a modern woman, but we were also prone to adopt the new images society expected from us. The photomontages from my previous online posts connect to the modern woman as well. Below, are more collages I have created that correspond to the idea of the “New Women”. Years of experiencing and developing a stronger understanding to the modern society has encouraged me to go in depth with this topic. I have a chance to elaborate my works and show you what I try to convey.
Da Dandy, 1919.
 In this work, I molded different heads of the modern women together to make up a face of a man outlined by the thin red line. This man is facing to the right; hopefully you can make out this picture. The women are confused about their identity in the new society.

Dada Ernst, 1920.
 In this collage, several ideas are portrayed. There are a pair of legs touching the coins, which are linked to the bow leading to the gymnast. I utilized this to show the modern athletic women in the new society. However, the naked back of the women exposes thefeminine side. The main focus of the collage is the man’s eye placed between the pair of legs. It is revealing the “New Woman” in the current society on the midst of watchful men. This was my expression of the new society in Germany. I could not quite make out our new role in the mass culture and in my eyes there was much confusion, but also a chance for a new beginning.

Dada Dance, 1922. 
Women must follow the new fashions of the modern mass culture.

     1929. I am at the age of forty living with Til  Brugman in Hague, Netherlands. A new artistic movement of surrealism has take place, however I continue my work in photomontage. I am very excited at this moment because, I am proud to say, that I will be having my first one person exhibit called Kunsthuis de Bron in the Hagues, Rotterdam. It is late at night now and I must retire to my chamber. I look forward to my exhibition and will definitely write about the experience! 


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