›The Reader as a Photomonteur‹

The exhibition includes three issues of the Arbeiter-Illustrierte-Zeitung, including works by John Heartfield, and its later version, the Die Volks- Illustrierte, published in exile. Heartfield’s artistic practice, as demonstrated by his photomontage titled Benütze Foto als Waffe! (Use the photo as a weapon) (1929), and the wider project of the worker photography movement, was aimed at an activation of the viewer and a disruption of image reception processes. In the words of Walter Benjamin, Dadaist photomontage was to “hit the spectator like a missile”, intervening and diverting its circulation, and subverting its meaning. Two issues of Die Volks-Illustrierte (Peoples’ Illustrated Magazine), on display in the exhibition demonstrate this sort of critique of the perception of the viewer and reader as “passive, announcing a competition titled “the reader as photomonteur”, and—several issues later—its winners. Photomontage is here understood not merely as an authored form of avant garde artistic production, but rather, as a vernacular, egalitarian, model for visual literacy and activism (Source: excerpt from the wall-label of the exhibition ›Resisting Images‹, Biennale für aktuelle Fotografie ›Farewell Photography‹).