An important (and the only female) member of the Berlin Dada group, Hannah Höch was a pioneer in photomontage. In her deft hands, images taken from popular and fashion magazines were collaged together to create radical work that struck a balance between humor and poetic beauty. Höch was part of a generation of German artists for whom the explosion of World War I shattered the status quo of everyday life, imbuing them with a political consciousness of the changing world that rose from the ashes. She claimed to have discovered photomontage in the cut-and-paste photographs that soldiers on the front sent home to their families, and it soon became her medium of choice for satirical social commentary.
Höch was particularly invested in deconstructing gender and identity norms in conceptions of the “new woman” in Weimar Germany, sometimes incorporating lace patterns and the like into her collages to marry the traditional languages of women’s crafts with mass media. This collage of a replicating doll’s head speaks to the rapidly transforming and expanding identities of women with the new freedoms of modern culture, while the title—Broken—alludes to the anxieties and limitations still forcefully at play against them.