[Artist, b. 1886, Vienna, d. 1971, Limoges, France.]
What is important is that our optical awareness rids itself of classical notions of beauty and opens itself more and more to the beauty of the instant and of these surprising points of view that appear for a brief moment and never return; those are what make photography an art.
To be a photographer is to become aware of visible appearances and at the same time acquire from them an education in individual and common optical aperception. Why? Because every individual sees in his own way but see little more than images shaped by the cultural standards of a given period.
We called [the] process “photomontage,” because it embodied our refusal to play the part of the artist. We regarded ourselves as engineers, and our work as construction: we assembled our work, like a fitter.
It was on the occasion of a visit to the Baltic seacoast on the island of Usedom in the little village of Heidebrink, that I conceived the idea of photomontage. On the walls of almost every house was a colored lithograph depicting the image of a grenadier against a background of barracks. To make this military memento more personal, a photographic portrait of a soldier had been used in place of the head. This was like a stroke of lightning, one could—I saw it instantly—make paintings entirely composed of cut-out photographs. (Recollection of his 1918 epiphany)
[Dada is] perfectly kindhearted malice, alongside exact photography the only legitimate pictorial form of communication and balance in shared experience.
Having invented the static, simultaneous and purely phonetic poem, the Dadaists applied the same principles to pictorial representation. They were the first to use photography as material to create, with the aid of structures that were very different, often anomalous and with antagonistic significance, a new entity which tore from the chaos of war and revolution an entirely new image; and they were aware that their method possessed a propaganda power which their contemporaries had not the courage to exploit... (1931)