The explosion of photographic images in the mass media in the interwar years stimulated artists’ experimentation with montage, collage, and other dynamic modes of picture construction. Photomontage (the term "montage" comes from the German montieren, "to engineer") is an organizational system based on a fragmentary, composite syntax of pictures culled from newspapers and magazines; film critic Siegfried Kracauer called montage a "blizzard" of images. Realizing the activist power of this medium, Heartfield, a member of the Dada movement, which raucously challenged artistic traditions, published photomontages satirizing the growing National Socialist Party in the German weekly Arbeiter-Illustrierte-Zeitung (Workers’ Illustrated Newspaper, or AIZ). Between 1930 and 1938, Heartfield contributed 237 photomontages to AIZ, his attacks gaining in urgency once Hitler became chancellor, in early 1933.
Gallery label from The Shaping of New Visions: Photography, Film, Photobook, April 16, 2012–April 29, 2013.