Lecture by Dr. Anna Seidel: “John Heartfield and the Arbeiter-Illustrierte-Zeitung (AIZ)”

Cinema of the Dortmunder U | ground floor

The Slovenian artist collective IRWIN and other members of the meta-collective Neue Slowenische Kunst (NSK) quote many political photomontages by the Dadaist and anti-fascist artist John Heartfield in their works.

Born in 1891 as Hellmuth Franz Josef Stolzenberg (later Hellmuth Herzfeld) in Schmargendorf (now Berlin), he renamed himself "John Heartfield" in 1916. In doing so, he wanted to protest against the (anti-English) nationalism prevailing in the German Empire. In 1917 he founded the Malik publishing house with his brother Wieland Herzfelde. In 1918 he joined the KPD, and from 1919 he was a protagonist of the Berlin Dada movement. In 1929, he published a picture book co-authored with Kurt Tucholsky with the satirical title Deutschland, Deutschland über alles (Germany, Germany above all). In 1933, John Heartfield fled from the National Socialists to Czechoslovakia. From 1934 onwards, in exile in Prague, he designed many covers for the left-wing, communist weekly Arbeiter-Illustrierte-Zeitung (AIZ). In 1938 he managed to escape to Great Britain, returning to Germany in 1950. He died in 1968 East Berlin.

In her lecture, Dr. Anna Seidel will talk about the Arbeiter-Illustrierte-Zeitung in the Weimar Republic. The AIZ occupies an exciting position in comparison to the publications of the "big publishers" Ullstein, Scherl and Mosse. In some places, the strategies for addressing readers overlapped - but the contents could not have been more contrary. The lecture deals with the editorial staff and the audience of the AIZ as well as with the great importance of illustrations - and here especially with the picture montages of John Heartfield, who was also responsible for many cover designs of the AIZ.

Dr. Anna Seidel is a literary scholar and a cultural poet at the University of Innsbruck. Among other things she studies feminisms, avantgardes, especially the manifests, and currently the illustrated magazines of the Weimar Republic. She is a member of the special research group “Transformationen des Populären“. In addition, she is co-editor of the magazine testcard. beiträge zur
popgeschichte and freelance writer on for example pop, culture & criticism and Missy Magazine.

In cooperation with the Fritz-Hüser-Institut für Literatur und Kultur der Arbeitswelt, Dortmund

Picture credit: John Heartfield (centre) in 1960 talking with Otto Nagel and Wieland Herzfelde (r.) about one of his photomontages. Bundesarchiv, Picture 183-73744-0001 / Ulrich Kohls / CC-BY-SA 3.0.

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