Modern Literature & Culture Research Centre & Gallery

Dada art, renowned for its ephemeral nature, faced substantial losses during the early twentieth century. Irene Gammel reconstructs the survival story of five art objects belonging to Baroness Elsa in her recent contribution to the Journal of Avantgarde Studies (December 2023). Gammel’s article, titled “Enduring Ornaments: Five Enigmatic Found Objects and Assemblies by Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven, or the Avant-Garde Legacy of Trash,” explores the enduring significance of these obscured Dada works. Through an analysis of found objects and assemblages, the article  sheds light on the historical suppression of Dada women.
 

Abstract

This essay examines five found objects and assemblies created by Dada artist Baroness Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven: Enduring Ornament (1913), Cathedral (c. 1918), Earring-Object (1917-1919), Limbswish (1917-1919), and a now lost textile circle. These works, obscured for a long time, symbolize the historic silencing of Dada women. By merging feminist theories of performance, trash, and Dada, this paper argues that the Baroness’s use of discarded material generates radical destabilizations, infusing her work with affect, memory, and transatlantic connections to avant-garde artists. Drawing on new archival sources, the essay situates the Baroness within the queered dynamics of The Little Review Circle, revealing her interactions with figures like Margaret Anderson, Jane Heap, and Allen C. Tanner (1898-1987), key figures of the queered avant-garde.
 

Keywords

Assemblies; Found Objects; Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven; Trash Art; Allen Tanner

 


Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven artwork from the Mark Kelman Collection

From left to right: Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven, Enduring Ornament, 1913; Cathedral, ca 1918; Earring Object, c. 1917-1919; Limbswish, ca 1917-1919. Mark Kelman Collection.


 

Citation

Irene Gammel. “Enduring Ornaments: Five Enigmatic Found Objects and Assemblies by Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven, or the Avant-Garde Legacy of Trash.” Journal of Avant-Garde Studies 3.1 (18 December 2023): 168-200.
 

Read the article

Cover of Journal of Avant-Garde Studies View a PDF of the article (1.7 Mb).

 

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