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John Heartfield and the Agitated Image: Photography, Persuasion, and the Rise of the Avant-Garde Photomontage | Andres Mario Zervigon

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John Heartfield and the Agitated Image: Photography, Persuasion, and the Rise of the Avant-Garde Photomontage | Andres Mario Zervigon

139.00

Published by University of Chicago Press, 2012

290 x220mm, hardback, 344 pages

ISBN 9780226981772

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Working in Germany in the interwar era, John Heartfield (born Helmut Herzfeld, 1891-1968) developed an innovative method of appropriating and reusing photographs to powerful political effect. A pioneer of modern photomontage, he assembled images that transformed the meaning of the mass-media photos from which they were taken. In John Heartfield and the Agitated Image, Andres Mario Zervigon explores this crucial period in the life and work of this brilliant, radical artist whose desire to disclose the truth obscured by the mainstream press and the propaganda of politicians made him a de facto prosecutor of Germany and it's visual culture.

Zervigon charts the evolution of Heartfield's photomontage from an act of antiwar resistance into a formalized and widely disseminated political art in the Weimar Republic, when his work appeared on everything from campaign posters to book covers. He explains how Heartfields engagement with montage arose from dissatisfaction with photography and it's capacity to represent the modern world, and the result was likely the most important combination of avant-garde art and politics in the twentieth century. A rare look at Heartfield's early and middle years as an artist and designer, this book provides a new understanding of photography and it's role at this critical juncture in history.

Andres Mario Zervigon is assistant professor in the Department of Art History at Rutgers University.

''This lively and original book is a cogently formulated work that will make a welcome addition to the rapidly growing literature on John Heartfield. Andres Mario Zervigon provides a narrative arc for the development of Heartfield's career as a ''photomonteur'', adding much to the story by looking at his work from 1916-19 and 1921-29. Useful and instructive as well as thought-provoking, ''John Heartfield and the Agitated Image'' is an enjoyable read.'' Matthew Witkovsky, Art Institute of Chicago