Symposium “John Heartfield- Photography plus Dynamite”, Akademie der Künste, Berlin

John Heartfield (1891–1968) was one of the most innovative artists of the 20th century. His political photomontages became icons in the fight against National Socialism. To this day, they are of European significance and have lost none of their explosive power.

The exhibition “John Heartfield – Photography plus Dynamite” 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.

Due to the spread of the coronavirus, the exhibition opening at Pariser Platz has been postponed until June 2020. Nor can the extensive interdisciplinary programme of events with films and performances, lectures, readings and workshops take place in the planned form. Instead, the Akademie der Künste is making several digital offerings available as an alternative to the analogue exhibition and the programme of events Montage or Fake News?. The publicationspublished for the exhibition can be ordered online.

The panels of the Symposium

Goodbye Photomontage?

Ute Eskildsen and Angela Lammert (Akademie der Künste) in cooperation with Charlotte Klonk (Institut für Kunst- und Bildwissenschaften/ Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin) and Florian Ebner (photo curator, Centre Georges Pompidou)

As part of the “Montage or Fake News?” exhibition programme for John Heartfield – Photography plus Dynamite, the Visual Arts Section of the Akademie der Künste, Berlin ‒ in cooperation with the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris and the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin ‒ has organised the online symposium “Abschied von der Fotomontage?” (Goodbye Photomontage?). Originally planned as a two-day public event on Pariser Platz, with dialogically structured impulse lectures, discussions, interviews, film screenings, music performances and artist statements, the interdisciplinary project is taking place exclusively online due to the current situation. Three panels address topical issues and questions derived from a re-examination of select aspects of John Heartfield’s works and their impact:

With contributions by:

Panel I: Working Process – Revolutionary Beauty
Peter Chametzky (Columbia, South Carolina) – Sabine Kriebel (Cork)
Margarita Tupitsyn (New York/Paris) – Damarice Amao (Paris)
Volker Pantenburg (Berlin) – Azadeh Akhlaghi (Teheran/Melbourne)
Christian Marclay (London)

Panel II: Deconstruction – Digital World
Virginia McBride (New York/New Brunswick) – Adam Broomberg(London/Berlin)
Doreen Mende (Berlin) – Alexander Schwarz (Munich)
Boaz Levin (Berlin) – Kolja Reichert (Berlin)
Anda Kryeziu (Kosovo/Berlin)

Panel III: Construction – Images of Terror and Atrocities: When Images Become Weapons
Verena Straub (Berlin) – Klaus Speidel (Vienna)
Philipp Müller (Hamburg) – Anette Vowinckel (Potsdam)
Kristina Jaspers (Berlin), Gerd Kroske (Berlin)
Rithy Panh (Paris/Phnom Penh)

The symposium was conceived by Angela Lammert in collaboration with Ute Eskildsen, Florian Ebner and Charlotte Klonk.