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Analysis of the Hoch’s Collage

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Hoch’s collage, depicts the lower half of a women’s face, enlarged to be disproportioned to the body it is placed on, the woman’s face is framed by two almost Victorian era head pieces, the women’s mouth has a deep cupid’s bow and the eyes are not in the image. In the lower left corner, there is a man’s eye and eyebrow, covering the women’s left foot. The head is attached to a female’s body, she is depicted wearing a white bathing suit, with white sandals. The background is made up of 4 colours, all very similar hue. A light red in the lower left corner, a navy blue in the lower right, a lighter blue in the upper right, and a patterned blue in the upper left. The focal point of the collage, is on the women’s face, most importantly highlighting her teeth and lips. However, the focal point is somewhat “contradicted” by the man’s eye in the lower left corner, this highlights the message of Hoch’s artwork.

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Hoch uses 4 main colours in this collage. Dusty muted colours, creating a warm background, that is contradicted by the black and white figures portraying a cooler image. As all the colours look to be similar in their colour intensity, the background becomes almost homogenised, despite being all different cut outs. The black and white subjects oppose the warm colours of the background. The 1920s to 1930s where known as the golden age of Germany. Jazz, cabaret and liquor, made Weimar Germany a hot spot for young people to party. However, there was a much darker side to what was occurring in the late 30s, Hoch has placed these 2 figures in black and white against the bright background, to show what people assumed the 1930s to be and what it truly was. The darker side of what was considered the best years, is highlighted by Hoch’s use of colour in this artwork.

The size of each subject is representative to their emerging roles in society, but still making a commentary on the social injustices that where heavily present in the 30s. The woman’s head is the largest element of this artwork; however, her body is not proportionate to the size of the head. Hoch has used the element of size to make a statement that yes there has been social change pertaining to women’s role in society, and how men treat women. Under the new democracy at the fall of the Kaiser, women found they had a lot more freedom, resulting in the ‘emerging woman’ to become a major part of the 1930s.

The principle of visual organization that suggests that certain elements should assume more importance than others in the same composition. It contributes to organic unity by emphasizing the fact that there is one main feature and that other elements are subordinate to it. The main features of this art work, are the man’s eye and the woman’s head, and to a lesser extent the body it is places on. Hoch has used emphasis in this art work to highlight, the masculine feminine divide heavily present in the society at the time. The emerging new woman is referenced by the size of the woman’s head, in contrast to the size of the man’s eye, symbolic of women becoming more powerful within a society that tries to negate that.

Proportion is the comparison of dimensions or distribution of forms. It is the relationship in scale between one element and another, or between a whole object and one of its parts. Hoch uses proportion in her photomontage to create a lack of unity between the subjects, much like what she did with her use of colour, this lack go homogenisation between the foreground back ground and the subjects within the composition. The lack of proportion in this composition is repitive of where men and women sit in society, and the subsequently partial change in those attitudes.

The techniques of collage are of pasting paper cut-outs onto various surfaces. It was first used as an artists’ technique in the early twentieth century. Photomontage is often used as a means of expressing political dissent. Though creating a collage the artist more movement in terms of composition, as they are sourcing their images, the art does come out in the ways in which the artist composes the image to deliver a message. Hoch uses the techniques of photomontage (collage) to depict a fragmented society, the rise of democracy changed Germany in all social political and economic aspects. Hoch delivers this message though her use of the techniques of photomontage, to create composition that relefects this change.

Hoch has used the medium of photomontage as a means of expressing political and social dissent. Hoch’s composition uses the elements of colour and size to place emphasis the 2 main subjects whilst also creating a contrast between what 1930s looked like on the outside, and some of the minor social progresses, contrasted to the many bad aspects of life as a woman in the 1930s. Hoch actively in her career critiqued the prevailing society in her collages. Her active interest in challenging the status of women in the social world of her times motivated a long series of works that promoted the idea of the “New Woman” in the era. In this art work, Hoch is making a comment on the idea of the new woman, that it wasn’t all, it was made to look like, a comment on that despite this ‘change’ that women were still being treated poorly by men (represented by the man’s eye in the lower left corner) that despite these movements forward, the misogynist cultural undertones where still prevalent, in the society.

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