Comparative Analysis Of Kennard And Heartfield English Literature Essay

Published:

I would like to compare Heartfields The Face of Fascism, with Kennards photomontage entitled Iraq (2003), first published in his photomontage book, Images for the End of the Century (1990), later published for the CND and recently re-published in 2003 due to the war in Iraq. In his photomontage, Kennard deforms the human portrait by using a gas mask and nuclear weapons. Kennard places a soldier's helmet on the head of this human figure and puts a world figure on the helmet. In this photomontage, designed in black and white, the disturbing elements are the gas mask, the soldier's helmet and the nuclear weapons together forming a human-like figure. Kennard externally interrupts this human portrait by means of mounting nuclear weapons and a gas mask. The new human type achieved by the so-called interruption is a modern creature of weapons, gas mask and helmet. Kennard's photomontage suggests the possible result of the use of nuclear bombs. The illustrated human is both equipped with war-gear as well as doomed by it. Although the figure is helmeted and gas-masked, his mouth is plugged with nuclear warheads. He is both in the position to ignite them, as well as to be exploded by them. Caroline Tisdall agrees that Kennard's photomontages are "suggesting rather than answering" events. [2] She also explains the aim of Kennard's photomontage as setting "a mental process going that links visual perception to emotional impact." [3] Walker accepts Kennard's collage as an "anti-war" image and says, "Missiles are stuffed inside the figure's mouth. Nuclear weapons, Kennard makes clear, pose a threat to the planet; they also dehumanize." [4] 

Lady using a tablet
Lady using a tablet

Professional

Essay Writers

Lady Using Tablet

Get your grade
or your money back

using our Essay Writing Service!

Essay Writing Service

In his collage, Kennard depicts the human relationship to a nuclear bomb threat. Regardless of how the artist creates an imaginative human using photomontage; the main importance is the meaning it conveys. In this collage, Kennard used his imaginative idea to create such a machine-man figure. Sidra Stich, an art historian specializing in Surrealism, suggests that World War I was "the first wholly industrialized war" that involved "the suppression of the individual". [5] I think that Kennard reflects Stich's observations in his photomontage. Kennard, as Heartfield did in his collage, manipulates the face of a human figure with a helmet, gas mask and nuclear warheads. Both artists focused on human figures to make an impact. This impact results in a grotesque human figure. Although Kennard's collage is ominous for all human beings, it also skillfully combines cold metallic parts into a human face as a beautiful visual image. This beauty comes from the arrangement of disparate images. Susan Sontag says "The grotesque were not all horrible. Some were amusing, some almost beautiful." [6] Kennard's collage creates an idea that is worth a thousand words. While Walker defines Kennard's works as "eye catching "and as "visual intelligence" [7] , Amanda Hopkinson analyzes the artist's collage more broadly: "His work has moved from the dying streets of our inner cities to the killing fields of the former Yugoslavia." [8] Kennard considers photomontage as an art form that "speaks about the politics of everyday life." [9] Heartfield also reflected on his own time of dirty politics in his photomontages, and, as we mentioned earlier, his political identity as a Communist. John Roberts argues that Kennard's photomontages "are inseparable from much of the British Left's public identity in their period." [10] 

Lady using a tablet
Lady using a tablet

Comprehensive

Writing Services

Lady Using Tablet

Plagiarism-free
Always on Time

Marked to Standard

Order Now

Kennard's approach in this successful work is achieved by means of his skillful combination of photographic elements. The human figure in this work is a deformation and alienation with the use of symbolic objects such as the gas mask and helmet. Chris Townsend describes the deformed photographic works as "ugliness". [11] Although the new human figure in Kennard's work is ugly, it proves to be an aesthetic work through his creativity.

Kennard not only created beautiful collages through photographic resources, but he dramatized and interpreted a disastrous threat to human kind. Rosalind Krauss' remarks could be applied to Kennard's photomontage: "... Dada photo collage disrupts in an attempt to infiltrate reality with interpretation." [12] Kennard's visual interpretation of the new image through manipulation of photographic resources constitutes the centre of the work. On the one hand, Heartfield criticizes fascism in his work; on the other, Kennard, criticizes the countries and the people who further the nuclear arms race. I think both artists are politically critical in their works and try to reflect their own feelings and thoughts.

To return to Kennard's photomontage, I can say that the artist visualized conflicts of human nature. The figure represents war. Val William agrees that Kennard's "photo pieces deal explicitly with the complicated fantasies of conflict." [13] The conflict in the photomontage is that the depicted man, dressed for war and destruction in an attempt to save himself, will inadvertently destroy himself. William understands that the foundation of Kennard's critique, his "starting point", lies in the "absurdity" of the conflicting intention and result. [14] Kennard explains, "The point of my work is to use these easily recognizable iconic images, but to render them unacceptable." [15] Kennard's photomontage "pleads examination of the reality behind the appearance". [16] 

As the face of Mussolini in Heartfield's work is visually curious and surprising, Kennard's human figure in its new form with the weapons and gas mask creates curiosity and wonder in the audience at first glance. Despite such parallelisms in the photomontages, some different aspects are examined too. For instance, while Kennard used more than one symbol to manipulate the human figure in his work (a gas mask, nuclear warheads, a helmet and a globe), Heartfield placed only one symbolic skull on the face of Mussolini to signify death. Besides, Heartfield places other photographic resources on the portrait of Mussolini.

The similarities in the works of these two artists are also observed in some parts of their lives. Tim Webb quotes that Kennard has been a member of British CND and The Workers Revolutionary Party, which was a leftist party in Britain in the 1970s. [17] In the beginning of my research, I mentioned that Heartfield was a member of the German Communist Party, in the 1920's the most influential, leftist party of the period, and then, he produced photomontage works criticizing capitalism and fascism in the AIZ Magazine. Another difference that I determined between these two artists is that, within his photomontage works, Heartfield especially criticized Hitler and the leading people around him in this period. For example, in his work Mimicry (1934), the artist mocks Hitler and his assistant Goebbels, and he satirizes the speeches of Hitler in his works, Once Again First in the World (1936), and The Meaning of the Hitler Salute (1932). On the other hand, Kennard does not usually depict individuals but criticizes the political structure of his own country in his works and also the negative points of global policy in general. For instance, as Kennard's Broken Missile poster represents the power of world peace against nuclear disarmament, his other works like Defended to Death, and Haywain also reflect the threat of nuclear weapons to world peace.

Lady using a tablet
Lady using a tablet

This Essay is

a Student's Work

Lady Using Tablet

This essay has been submitted by a student. This is not an example of the work written by our professional essay writers.

Examples of our work

To summarize, Although Kennard and Heartfield worked in different historical periods and moved in different social, cultural and political spheres, their shared artistic medium served similar effects and results