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Hannah Höch's radical imagination: a study on the transformation of reality through space, language and a politicised psychoanalysis

Tabernacle, Andrea Kay; (2017) Hannah Höch's radical imagination: a study on the transformation of reality through space, language and a politicised psychoanalysis. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

This thesis presents an analysis of Höch’s work in relation to the idea of radical imagination. It proposes that Höch activated radical imagination in her work, aiming to transform perceptions of reality, in order to create social change. In pursuit of such change, Höch was influenced both by psychoanalysis and philosophy, in particular, by Salomo Friedländer’s concept of creative indifference. The target for radical imagination is the dismantlement and reconstruction of the prevailing moral, social and aesthetic order, from its root. This study argues that its effect derives from its rootedness in the perception of subjective realities. Beginning in the unconscious processes of looking and the construction of concepts of self and other, it is radical in means as well as in intention towards fundamental changes in values. While not directed at specific political aims, it is argued here that there is, nonetheless, an ethical and political imperative. The research has been carried out through an examination of Höch’s work in context, including by reference to Walter Benjamin and Sigmund Freud. Her work is also considered in relation to other Dada artists and the writer, Til Brugman. This study also uses art-practice to model, speculate and reflect on radical imagination. Both Friedländer and Höch develop their ideas through art: Höch in her varied practice and Friedländer through grotesque stories. Höch’s development of methods to enact radical imagination can be understood as akin to contemporary practice-based research. In foregrounding Höch’s ideas about imagination and reality, from her statements and the visual evidence of her work, this thesis aims to produce a new interpretation of Höch’s work, based on the attribution of agency to Höch as a pioneering cultural producer: her work contributing to a wider articulation of ideas about imagination with importance beyond the discipline of Fine Art.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Hannah Höch's radical imagination: a study on the transformation of reality through space, language and a politicised psychoanalysis
Event: UCL (University College London)
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Third party copyright material has been removed from ethesis.
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities > The Slade School of Fine Art
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10040084
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