Thursday, March 22, 2018

DADA + Neue typographie: Laszlo Moholy-Nagy

Love Your Neighbor, (1925). 

Jealousy, (1927).

What's unique to Moholy-Nagy is his inventiveness. Drawing on collage, photo, and a minimalist use of geometry,  Moholy-Nagy creates a personal vocabulary which is modern, almost Futuristic, pointing to a way of feeling of modernity.

dada: automatic drawing

Automatic drawing by Andre Masson

As I said in class, l'ecriture automatique is a form of graphic design. Call it unconscious design. The idea is to design the spontaneous, the unthought, leave it to the line to do the talking. That -at least- was the premise of the Surrealists.

Wolfgang Paalen, ca 1950

From the 1916 FORM MAGAZINE.

forms of dada collage (the making is as automatic as the product)

cubomania is a collage in which pictures or images are cut into squares and the squares are then reassembled without regard for the image, at random.

decoupage. one cuts up smaller images or portions at random, and rearranges them to create a new image or text. The cut ups are used to offer a non-linear alternative to traditional reading and writing. Dali used a lot of decoupage in his early work.

décalcomanie. a decorative technique by which engravings and prints may be transferred to pottery or other materials. 

ernst & heartfield: masters of dadacollage

dada collage has two forms: political and metaphysical. the two exponents are max ernst and john heartfield.

heartfield's hitler posters have no match in political art:

Nur keine agnst, er ist vegetarier

Fritz Thyssen spielt mit Adolf Hitler als Marionette

here some max ernst metaphysical collages

john heartfield's political antinazi posters

dada + poetry = ?


We might have coupled
in the bed-ridden monopoly of a moment
Or broken flesh with one another
At the profane communion table
Where wine is spill't on promiscuous lips
We might have given birth to a butterfly
With the daily-news
Printed in blood on its wings


duchamp, urinal, 1912

what's the best definition of dada?

anything goes.

 duchamp, readymade

dada starts as a cultural movement in neutral Zurich, Switzerland, during WWI and peaked from 1916 to 1920. the movement primarily involved visual arts, literature, poetry, art manifestos, art theory, theatre and graphic design and concentrated its antiwar politic through a rejections of the prevailing standards in art through anti-art cultural works. \

dada photography is collage (either visual or formal)

 erwin blumenfeld, leinie spoor, 1932

or like this

 george grosz, remember uncle august, 1920

or illustration:

 max ernst, l'evade (1926)

or collage:

 hausmann, self portrait, 1920

dada "events" included public gatherings, demonstrations, and publication of art/literary journals. passionate coverage of art, politics, and culture filled their publications.

.... meanwhile in Germany & Austria *****Neue Sachlichkeit, circa 1926******

Otto Dix, The Jeweler Karl Krall, 1926

Max Beckmann, portrait of a Turk, 1926

Otto Dix, Sylvia von Harden, 1920s

George Grosz, The Poet Max Hermann Neisse, 1927

Otto Dix, Self-Portrait, 1928

Barthel Gilles, Self portrait with Gas Mask, 1930

George Grosz, Portrait of Felix Weil 1926

Jeanne Mammen, Schaccista, 1929

Christian Schad, Self-portrait, 1927

Otto Dix, Alfred Flechtheim, 1926

Otto Dix, Portrait of Hugo Simmons, 1925

1- Neue Sachlichkeit artists embraced realism in defiance of trends towards abstraction,
2- they renounced the idiosyncratic subjectivities espoused by early German Expressionists.
3- they combine their realism with the biting protest of the Dada movement.
4- this ralism is not traditional, rather it's a distorted and dark realism to expose the moral degradation in German society.
5- you see portraiture, and self-portraiture,
6- there's a tension in the portrait between the individual being represented and the type, or roll, that person plays in society.
7- the portraits exhibit unflattering details or unsettling psychological effects,
8- there is intimacy,
9- caricature &
10- Kriegstrauma,

Die Neue Typographie (the power of the strikingly asymmetrical)

Jan Tschichold, Die Frau ohne Namen, Offset lithograph (1927)

Modernist style of typography was perhaps most immediately recognizable in a multitude of graphic communications: posters, brochures, books, handbills, and letterheads. 

what you see here is a classical symmetrical arrangement coming straight from a combination of cubist, futurist, and dadaist typographic collage images. they evolved into the more disciplined, yet decidedly revolutionary, asymmetrical style known as Die Neue Typographie (New Typography). new typography style was quickly adopted in other centers of avant-garde activity, including holland, hungary, czechoslovakia, and poland, and was finally codified into a total revision of the rules of traditional commercial layout. 

the basics of the style were defended by lissitzky, lászló moholy-nagy, paul renner, and its most devout (and rigid) adherent, jan tschichold. to these young designers the rules of the old typography, practiced since the age of Gutenberg, violated the criterion of fitness for purpose in design. 

1- photography replaced realistic, decorative, or otherwise sentimentalized illustration. 2- photomontage, a completely mechanistic means of illustration, became an effective propaganda weapon and the most popular tool of the new graphic design. 3- when 1. and 2. are used together we get what is called "asymmetrical typography," that is to say, a geometric layout with photographic illustrations, which defined modernist design.

einsenstein's potemkin

Eisenstein wrote the film as a revolutionary propaganda, but also used it to test his idea of "montage".

This is a propaganda form within the film narrative. In this particular shot, Eisenstein's editing intends to produce the greatest emotional response, so that the viewer would feel sympathy for the rebellious sailors of the battleship Potemkin --and hatred for their cruel tzarist overlords. The clip shows the most famous scene in the film: the massacre of civilians on the Odessa Steps (also known as the Primorsky or Potemkin Stairs).

igor nivinsky's constructivist theater design

 Preconstructivist production of Turandot at the MAT (Studio), designed by Igor Nivinsky, 1921

rodchencko's amazing constructivist photography

stairs, 1930

Rodchenko was influenced by Beardsley and later became a Futurist. He digested the work of Vladimir Tatlin and Malevich. Soon enough he was a Constructivist pioneer.

 miakovsky, 1923

Rodchenko wants to achieve pictorial and sculptural quality through purely abstract means. He wants to separate out the components of each image:
and the work's physical support,


 woman with leika, 1924

Rodchenko's Constructivism focuses on the tangible and material aspects of art, and its experimental spirit is encouraged by a belief that art had to match the revolutionary transformation taking place in politics and society.


electric tower, 1920s

lylia brik, 1924

Since the 1920s Rodchenko switches to photography in an attempt to find new media more appropriate to his goal of serving the revolution. Inititally he used montage, then pictures and text, but later started taking pictures himself and evolved a personal aesthetic:
1- unconventional angles,
2- abruptly cropped compositions,
3- stark contrasts of light and shadow.

His work in photomontage and photography ultimately made an important contribution to European photography in the 1920s.

dziga vertov & constructivist cinema

suddenly by the 1920s technology is the new frontier of art

El Lissitzky, Lenin Tribune, 1925


The Melnikov House, Konstantin Melnikov, Moscow, 1929

what are the tenets of constructivism?

1- formal rupture with the past, functionalism, geometric formalism and machine aesthetics.

2- design is a formal experiments for social change.

3- graphic design is a bridge between commercial publicity and fine art conventions, despite the polarization of these realms by definitions of high and mass culture.

4- graphic design education turns away from historical styles in favor of a pursuit of universal principles and systems.

5- the effectiveness of graphic design as a shaper of public opinion prompted questions about the nature of propaganda and the social responsibility of designers.

constructivist posters (red, black, white, maybe yellow)

agit prop. maiakovsky, 1920s (shies te butan gerpie) party's shock fracture

Klutsis poster (1920's)

Ad for the Young Guard Magazine, Alexander Rodchenko, (1924)

communitarian laborers, 1920s (anonymous)