“NEGERLIEDER : “He pleads for an intensification of rhythm (Negro Rhythm)”

Focusing on how the Dadaist approached and mined othered cultures as part of their refusal of traditional European art, I am responding to several works which to me exemplify this questionable appropriation. In the photographic series, NEGERLIEDER : “He pleads for an intensification of rhythm (Negro Rhythm)” I wear masks modeled after Man Ray’s photographs of women posing with ‹African› masks produced towards the end of Dada (such as Noire et Blanche), Hannah Hoch’s Ethnographic Museum collages and the self-portraits of Elsa von Freytag Loringhioven which showcased her ‘primitivist’ jewelry and her interest in ‘sauvage’ motifs. These works look to underline the movement’s philosophical correlation between what Hugo Ball famously deemed “fool’s play sprung from nothing” and otherness.

My colored body and performance while wearing these masks further addresses the painful life of the colored body as envisioned by the white imaginary within the art world and beyond both then and today.

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