Socialist Worker

Twisted images of a shattered society

by Noel Halifax
Issue No. 2617

The Beggar of Prachatice by Conrad Felixmu?ller (1924)

The Beggar of Prachatice by Conrad Felixmu?ller (1924) (Pic: The George Economou Collection)

The term “magical realism” is today generally used to describe a form of literature and is strongly associated with writers in South America.

But the term was first coined in Germany in 1925 to describe the work of a group of artists in the Weimar Republic that existed between the wars.

The First World War and the revolutionary wave that followed it affected all aspects of society.

After the slaughter, returning troops wanted a different world where such horror was a thing of the past.

Artists reacted by tearing up the old rule book and creating new ways to see the world.

Their work was often imbued with political thought and imagery critical of capitalist society.

The works on display at the Tate Modern exhibition of Otto Dix and George Grotz vibrate with a hatred of capitalist inequality as well as the new form of realism.

This exhibition is part of a series that includes Aftermath: Art in the Wake of World War One which shows at Tate Britain until 16 September.

Magical realism in Weimar Germany

Tate Modern, Bankside, London SE1 9TG

Free entry

Until 14 July 2019

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