From 1925, Otto Dix became an essential exponent of the New Objectivity, an artistic movement that in Germany plays a social criticism role by looking at everyday life with a cynical, outspoken, and cruel eye.
Like George Grosz, John Heartfield, and Otto Dix himself, many artists who witnessed and survived the WWI horrors recorded through their works how Germany was paying severe post-war consequences. War-wounded people and rejected by society are recurring figures in Otto Dix’s oeuvres.
They are also present in the triptych Metropolis, at the edge of the frame, with their green military uniform. The three ex-soldiers, two of whom are without legs, appear distressed and beg for attention in vain. Indeed, some passing people, proudly flaunting naked and toned legs, are pushing them more and more at the corners, in the dark. The opulent passers-by parade into a careless coming and going. They hurry to reach the central panel party: a ballroom animated by musicians, where everything is full of light and bright colors.
A visual rendition of the same contrasts of the Weimar Republic can be found in the TV series Babylon Berlin, a contemporary German neo-noir: with its dark and luxurious atmospheres shows the contrast between poverty and social difficulties, with the excesses and energy of the metropolitan nightlife.
The whole perspective is forced in such a way to show the horror of reality. Houses folds on themselves, and the faces are stretched and deformed.
Contemporary to this triptych is Metropolis, an oppressive and disturbing vision of the future by Fritz Lang, which displays the same social and existential crisis.
Because of the harsh criticism of war and politics, the Third Reich enlisted Otto Dix among the Degenerate Artists: who didn’t reflect the sublime and canonical Aryan race’s values were dangerous for the regime and deserved destruction.
Luckily, history went different from The Man in The High Castle by Philip Dick, and Metropolis has survived.