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Collection

Katt Both

(Germany 1905 – 1985)

Title
Atikah-cigarette
Alternative title:
Atikah-Zigarette
Year
1930-1931
Media category
Photograph
Materials used
gelatin silver photograph, vintage
Dimensions

22.2 x 17.4 cm image/sheet

Signature & date
Signed verso, pencil "K. Both". Not dated.
Credit
Purchased with funds provided by Bridget Pirrie and Stephen Grant, Harry and Penelope Seidler, The Freedman Foundation, Conny Dietzschold, Phillip Keir and Sarah Benjamin, Roslyn and Tony Oxley, Roger and Suzanne Burrows, John Frey 2003
Accession number
14.2003
Location
Not on display
Further information

Katt Both studied at the Bauhaus from 1924 to 1928 under László Moholy-Nagy. Although photography was not being formally taught at the Bauhaus at that time, Moholy-Nagy was doing some extraordinary experimentation outside the confines of the academy. Both was studying furniture design but clearly became aware of her master’s photographic techniques and, in particular, his use of what he called ‘typofoto’, combining typefaces with photographic imagery. After leaving the Bauhaus, Both worked as a designer in several parts of Germany including Berlin. After 1945 she became an architect in Kassel where she continued to work until her death in 1985.

‘Atikah-cigarette’ was clearly a promotion for a cigarette company, showing the brand in the form of a gigantic cigarette towering over a map of Europe. It rises up from the industrial heartland shown on the map, possibly suggesting a factory chimney. This is in not an image that would work well today with our fears of pollution and our knowledge of the poisonous effects of smoking. However, at the time it could have summoned up associations between the heroic aspects of modern life and smoking cigarettes. Industrialisation and modernity were invariably considered inseparable during this time between the wars. There is a sinister prescience about this image as it was created shortly before the Second World War. The shadow cast by the column, which has also been likened to a great cannon, falls across Denmark onto the North Sea and the Orkney Islands.

© Art Gallery of New South Wales Photography Collection Handbook, 2007

Bibliography (3)

Anthony Bond, Photography: Art Gallery of New South Wales Collection, 'International modernism', pg.93-111, Sydney, 2007, 102 (illus.).

Ute Eskildsen, Fotografieren heiß teilnehmen: fotografinnen der Weimarer Republik, Dusseldorf, 1994, 106 (illus.).

Kunsthaus Lempertz, From Bauhaus to Fotoform: vintage photographs from the 1920s to the 1950s - from a German private collection, Cologne, 15 Sep 2001, 16 (illus.). lot no. 9

Exhibition history (2)

Fotografieren hieß teilnehmen: fotografinnen der Weimarer Republik:

Warning: Smoking has been linked to some of the most powerful images of the twentieth century – an MPRG exhibition., Mornington Peninsula Regional Gallery, Mornington, 04 Apr 2006–28 May 2006