“Newspaper draughtsman, photo-journalist, picture editor, advertisement photographer.” These are some of the professional pursuits Heinz Hajek-Halke’s vita lists for the 1920s and ‘30s. It sounds like an adventurous, colorful apprenticeship period about which, however, little is known. All we have is a number of montages conveying the spirit of the Golden Twenties in Berlin through simple, direct pictorial contrasts. In each montage, modern technology and culture are foregrounded, but behind it all we discern the old image of desire in new, fashionable disguise: the femme fatale of former centuries transformed into the present-day cover girl. Hajek-Halke comes across here as a master of eloquent photomontages, which participate in the lively cross traffic between art and life, sex, technology and consumption so typical of Berlin’s cultural climate in the brief democratic interlude between Kaiser Wilhelm and Adolf Hitler. Then the rupture: For the Nazi period, Hajek-Halke’s via lists escape from the Goebbels Ministry of Propaganda into zoological/biological picture reportages at Lake Constance, aerial photography for Dornier, a major German airplane manufacturer, a detainment in a French p.o.w. camp. The biographical parenthesis opened in 1933 is closed in 1945, and Hajek-Halke continues where he left off in the 1920s. It is a case of continuity with a difference.
This publication constitutes catalogue No. 21 published by the gallery. It was released on the occasion of the presentation of Galerie Rudolf Kicken at Art|25|Basel, June 15 – 20, 1994.