The Baroness

27 May-17 Sep 2022

Mimosa House
London WC1X 8SP


Mimosa House presents 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, Astrid Seme and Linda Stupart.

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. 

For press enquiries, please contact [email protected]

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.

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The Baroness | Press Release