Carleton University Art Gallery CUAG

Photomontage Between the Wars (1918-1939)

Curated by Fundación Juan March, Madrid

15 October – 16 December 2012

Photomontage Between the Wars (1918-1939) surveys the birth of the photomontage process as an art form as it simultaneously developed in Germany and the Soviet Union in the 1920s, with special focus on the interwar period, when the technique emerged and was adopted as an artistic medium. The exhibition is drawn from the Merrill C. Berman Collection in the United States, and features over 100 posters, books, magazines, and postcards by artists and graphic designers from 13 countries. Berman’s world-class collection of graphic design and modernist art is considered equal to that of the Stedelijk Museum’s in Amsterdam and the Museum of Modern Art’s in New York.

In Soviet Russia, photomontage became a powerful political weapon in the hands of such artists as El Lissitzky and Aleksandr Rodchenko. These artists exploited the power of the photographic image to create propaganda posters touting the Soviet regime, the country’s economy, and the myths of Lenin and Stalin. In Germany, John Heartfield and Max Burchartz used photomontage to create works that condemned the National Socialist regime as it rose to power in the 1930s.The extensive range of posters in the exhibition, several of which are landmarks in the history of 20th-century graphic design, demonstrates the enormous influence of photomontage in politics, social protest, advertising, publication, and the marketplace.

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