I visited London at the weekend. I got off the tube station at Aldgate East as told and decided to take the exit that directed you to Whitechapel Gallery (obviously). As I waited I went inside the Gallery to find there was an exhibition of the full works of Hannah Hoch. I couldn’t believe it! I could of spent hours there given the time. I was completely blown away by her work. It helped me seeing the pieces I have saw on the internet actually in the flesh. Sometimes I struggle with my collage with what to put in the backgrounds, how to give the pieces something else with out over complicating things. Seeing hers gave me ideas. She used a lot of simple shapes that she had painted with water colour then cut out which simply complimented her photo montage rather than complicating it and taking focus away from the area she wanted you to be directed to. Her colours were simple and comfortable to look at when the image as busy enough and on others, like her abstract work, the colours drew you in.
Another thing I will take away is the idea of a ‘finished’ piece of work. I have struggled with this, I feel like the have to be of a large size and a bit too perfect and planned. These pieces still felt raw and organic. It was the way they were presented that made them accepted as final pieces. They were of all different sizes, but mounted on the wall in frames. The space around the pieces acted like a pedestal, the board within the frame that blocked out the rest of the paper, a bit like a large viewfinder, was authoritative, showing you exactly what was important, blocking out any rough edges. It was refreshing to see that. It made me think that you can come up with a piece in a sketch book or on a random piece of paper, but it’s the extra things separate from the work itself that make the work be final and presented.
What blows me away about her work is how timeless it is. To think that some of the pieces are 80-90 years old is incredible. I am looking at contemporary illustrators that are creating similar work now! I am also drawn to her personality, the bold steps she took, the controversy, how she was brave enough to put her work out there and speak through it and have people take note to the point she had to hide herself away for fear of prosecution. It’s especially admirable for the time.
I made a lot of quick sketches while walking around and sketched over some again once I had left the gallery and pondered over what I had just saw. The notes made were rushed and will be barely legible to anyone but me, but will hall me remember things more clearly when I come to looking back at my book for my dissertation. I can’t believe I spoke about her work for my dissertation on Friday and stumbled on this on Saturday, it couldn’t of worked out any better!