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date: 14 May 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This article argues that during the 1960s the Hungarian conceptualist and painter László Lakner defined through his works a paradoxical, yet distinctive lineage of a New Leftist visual culture. Based in the tradition of transnational communist, antifascist visual expression, Lakner’s art responded and critiqued the communist regime in Eastern Europe during the 1960s. The German political photomonteur John Heartfield initiated such an alternative leftist visual language in Weimar Germany in his antifascist photomontages, published by the German magazine Arbeiter-Illustrierte Zeitung, to create a politically engaged viewer from within the communist international movement. This essay compares the work of Lakner and Heartfield to show how the montage connection between these two artists stemmed from a transnational cross-pollination between communist visual cultures in the West and East that shared an international and oppositional character informed by radical social movements in the thirties and sixties.

Keywords: László Lakner, John Heartfield, montage strategies, antifascism, New Leftism

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