Academic journal article German Quarterly

Raoul Hausmann: Grenzgänger zwischen den Künsten: Eine Untersuchung zur Grenzüberschreitung zwischen Kunst und Literatur als künstlerisches Gestaltungsprinzip in Raoul Hausmanns Werk während der dadaistischen Phase

Academic journal article German Quarterly

Raoul Hausmann: Grenzgänger zwischen den Künsten: Eine Untersuchung zur Grenzüberschreitung zwischen Kunst und Literatur als künstlerisches Gestaltungsprinzip in Raoul Hausmanns Werk während der dadaistischen Phase

Article excerpt

Hübner, Corinna. Raoul Hausmann: Grenzgänger zwischen din Künsten: Eine Untersuchung zur Grenzüberschreitung zwischen Kunst und Literatur als künstlerisches Gestaltungsprinzip in Raoul Hausmanns Werk während der dadaistischen Phase. Bielefeld: Aisthesis, 2003. 176pp. euro34.00 paperback.

While overlapping aesthetic genres can be found within all early 20th-century avant-garde movements, the Dadaist and Cubist utilization of letters or words as mere icons changed the medial character of language. From that point on, language became part of a visually oriented communication process without necessarily transmitting any meaning, as is perhaps best seen in Raoul Hausmann's print advertisements of 1918, which consisted of a typographic arrangement of meaningless letters. It is these texts that are the focus of Corinna Hübner's study on Raoul Hausmann's Dadaist period.

Hübner provides her readers with an easy to follow and argumentatively well structured introduction into the complex matter of intermedial aesthetics within early 20th-century German art and literature. After a short presentation of the scholarly reception of Hausmann, and interdisciplinary theories of the avant-garde, Hübner chronologically describes Hausmann's Berlin period, then analyzes his typographic and art work separately, before drawing a conclusion and placing the Dadaist in a wider context of 20th-century avant-garde and media art.

Theoretically founded in the discourse of genres from Lessing's Laokoon to Peter Bürger's Theory of the Avant-Garde, Hübner succeeds in showing how Raoul Hausmann's techniques of collage, montage, and visual poetry reflect not only the idea of a Gesamtkunstwerk, but work towards a "configuration of senses" (34), thus trying to apply visual perception to literature, and reading techniques to artwork: "[D]as gattungsspezifische Rezeptionsverhalten von Sehen bzw. visuellem Verstehen für die Malerei und von linearem Lesen für Literatur wird innerhalb der Collagen gemischt" (131). Using Wolfgang M. Faust's (1977) terminology, Hübner analyzes Hausmann's Dadaist work from his Berlin period as an iconization of language, and "Linguarisierung" of art. …

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