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Exhibition, Symposium, Digital Platform

The exhibition shows the many facets of his art, ranging from book design and advertising to work for the political press, set design, photography and animated film. It delves into Heartfield's methods for using powerful imagery in very different contexts and elucidates his production processes. Previously largely unknown works and documents make Heartfield's complex field of reference visible, including Bertolt Brecht, George Grosz, Wieland Herzfelde and Erwin Piscator.

John Heartfield: Deutschland, Deutschland über alles, 1929
John Heartfield: Deutschland, Deutschland über alles, 1929, Courtesy of Akademie der Künste

John Heartfield's (1891–1968) political photomontages provided the initial spark for an effective means of using visual rhetoric – creating powerful images whose impact can still be palpably felt. Heartfield attempted to mobilise a wide audience against Fascism and war through strategies meant to enlighten. As his friend the art critic Adolf Behne so aptly put it in 1931, Heartfield's photomontages seemed like "photography plus dynamite".













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