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Installation view, 'The Baroness' exhibition, Mimosa House. Photo by Rob Harris.
Mimosa House will present, for the first time in the UK, a group exhibition dedicated to
Dada artist, the Baroness Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven (1874–1927). The Baroness
will feature von Freytag-Loringhoven’s rare original artworks and manuscript
reproductions of poems, alongside contributions by international contemporary artists
and poets including Nora Gomringer, Libby Heaney, Caspar Heinemann, Istanbul Queer
Art Collective, Zuzanna Janin, Reba Maybury, Sadie Murdoch, Nat Raha, Taqralik
Partridge, Liv Schulman and Astrid Seme.
Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven was “the first American Dada”, “New York’s first punk
persona”, “the great aunt of feminist performance art”, and a radical poet and
assemblage artist. Her assemblages and costumes included everyday objects:
teaspoons, stamps and tomato cans. Her poetry touched on the subjects of gender and
sexuality, religion and war, disrupting patriarchal and gender codes, and reclaiming
women’s right to pleasure and birth control.Grotesque, provocative, non-acquiescent, eccentric, anarchic – von
Freytag-Loringhoven’s work shares the vocabulary of Dada itself. However by including
her own body and very personal motives in her poetical work, the Baroness creates a
very distinct interpretation of Dada and anticipates the post-modernist movement.
Born in Germany in 1874 as Else Plötz, the future Baroness Elsa von
Freytag-Loringhoven left home at age 18 to work as an erotic vaudeville artist and an
artist’s model in Berlin and Munich, before relocating to New York and Paris to pursue
her poetical and performative practice. She published her poems in the uncompromising
Little Review arts magazine, sparking outrage for their experimental form and
provocative subject matter, gaining recognition and admiration from leading figures of
high modernism such as Man Ray, Ezra Pound, William Carlos Williams, Peggy
Guggenheim, Berenice Abbott and Ernest Hemingway.
Despite its radicality and innovation, the Baroness’ work remains unfamiliar to the wider
public. The Baroness at Mimosa House will present her original works in the UK for the
first time, in dialogue with contemporary artists and poets, celebrating her revolutionary
vision of gender and feminism.
The Baroness exhibition is curated by Daria Khan, with support from Carleton University
Art Gallery, Ottawa and Owens Art Gallery, Sackville.
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With generous support from Arts Council England, Austrian Cultural Forum London,
Fluxus Art Projects, Goethe-Institut London, Hallett Independent and High Commission
of Canada in the UK.
47 Theobalds Rd, London, WC1X 8SP