Photography and Realism in the 1930´s


1) To understand the relations between photography and painting in the scope of the first avant-gardes, taking for reference the contents presented in classes and the discussions of texts selected from the bibliography.
2) To explain the role of collage and montage techniques in Dada and Constructivism, defining their associated concepts.
3) To identify the implications of the alliance between photography, graphic arts and exhibition design.
4) To acquire a broad knowledge about the relationship between photography and propaganda in the 1930´s.

General characterization





Responsible teacher

Available soon


Weekly - 3 letivas + 1 tutorial

Total - Available soon

Teaching language





AAVV (2000), El Lissitzky: Para além da Abstracção, Porto: Serralves
AAVV (2006), Dada, New York: Moma
ADES, D. (1993), Photomontage, London: Thames and Hudson
AAVV (1997), Années 30 en Europe: Le Temps Menaçant 1929-1939, Paris: Musée d´Art Moderne de la ville de Paris/Flamarion
KRAUSS, R. (1990), Le photographique. Pour une Théorie des Écarts, Paris: Macula

Teaching method

This curricular unit is based on sessions that regularly combine an exposition component and a group debate that addresses each topic of the programme. The aim of this methodology is to deepen and consolidate the acquired knowledge and ensure the students critical and active involvement in the discussion of referential texts previously selected by the teacher.

Evaluation method

The final evaluation is based both on the students performance concerning the preparation and participation in the regular class debates (30%), and on the development of an individual final essay (70%).

Subject matter

1) The real and its images between painting and photography. The first avant-gardes and the issue of reality representation.
“collage” and “Montage” processes in Dada and Constructivism. The power of combined images. Surrealism and photomontage.
2) Photography as an “epic of modern times”. The illustrated press and the impact of the photo reportages. From imageobject to image-testimony. Photography, Graphic Arts and Exhibition Design. Lissitzky and the definition of a visual discourse to mass audiences.The Soviet Union Pavilion at Pressa Internation Exhibition in Cologne (1928) and the Deutscher Werkbund Pavilion at the Decorative Arts Exhibition in Paris (1930).
3) Reality and appearances. The persuasive powers of the photographic image. Photography and propaganda. Herbert Bayer and the National Socialist exhibition in Berlin (1933-37). The “Mostra della rivoluzione fascista” in Rome (1932) and the “Exposição do Ano X da Revolução Nacional” in Lisbon (1936).