What is Dadaism? Dadaism or Dada is a post-World War I cultural movement in visual art as well as literature (mainly poetry), theatre and graphic design.
A protest against the barbarism ofthe War and what Dadaistsbelieved was an oppressiveintellectual rigidity in both art andeveryday society; its works werecharacterized by a deliberateirrationality and the rejection of theprevailing standards of art.
Who Founded Dadaism?• Richard Huelsenbeck, a poet, and painter- musician Hugo Ball selected the word at random from a German-French Dictionary.• “Dada” was coined in Zurich in 1916.• A nonsense word, it means “Yes-Yes” in Russian, “There-There” in German (baby talk), and “Hobby horse” in French.
History of Dadaism• Dadaism was a cultural manifestation which grew in the beginning of the 20th century, more precisely between 1916-1923.• Nihilism engendered by war, and the revolutionary spirit released by Cubism (the first revolutionary art movement) were the key factors behind the movement’s growth and appeal• It employed a barrage of demonstrations and manifestos, and exhibitions of absurdist art which were designed to shock both the authorities and the general public.
•Cabaret Voltaire was founded inZurich by Richard Huelsenbeck,Hugo Ball, Jean Arp and TristanTzara, as an early center of multi-cultural Dada events and protestshows.•The “Fountain”, a major Dadaistwork by Marcel Duchamp, wasrejected at the exhibition of theSociety of Independent Artists,causing an uproar among theDadaists.•It influenced later modern artmovements such as Surrealismand Pop Arts, and led to importantinnovations in fine art like collageand photo-montage.
Dadaism Philosophy “The idea is more important than the work itself”“Art can be made of anything”
Characteristics of Dadaism In general, Dada sought to undermine all art, viewing it as part of cultural norms and sensibilities that established oppressive aesthetic standards and emphasized the "reason" and "order" that had led to the self-annihilating destruction of World War I. Therefore, anything that contradicted these norms- chaos, irrationality, impermanence, repu gnance-was fair game for Dadas proponents.
• Social Critique The Dadaists were inherently political in their motivations. They rejected the modernist conception of the autonomy of art or "art for the arts sake.“Art in its various forms -- theater, the visual arts, literature and music - - should present critical perspectives through which to critique society. The Dadaists saw World War I as a logical consequence of bourgeois culture and civilization and its emphasize on rationalism and nationalism. The point of departure for Dada was the rejection of all "isms" as well as all cultural norms, standards and values.
• Anti-art The rejection of cultural standards and values also implied the rejection of "art" as well. The Dadaists saw themselves an anti- art movement. Two of the primary assumptions of the traditional concept of art are that art work is original and that the truth value of the art work is eternal. For everything that art stood for, Dada was to represent the opposite. Where art was concerned with aesthetics, Dada ignored them. If art is to have at least an implicit or latent message, Dada strives to have no meaning--interpretation of Dada is dependent entirely on the viewer. If art is to appeal to sensibilities, Dada offends.
• Shock Value One way to challenge the prevailing cultural standards and values of bourgeois culture is to intentionally shock and provoke the audience. The Dadaists used shock as a means of challenging the publics sensibility and complacency about the contemporary world. In addition to challenging the rules for art, Dadas intent was to use art to encourage the public to think critically about all rules.
• Chance In an effort to defy the "rational" cultural norms that Dada blamed for the bloodshed of World War I, many artists within this movement turned to "chance" to create their art. For example, Jean Arp would create collages from scraps of paper that he let fall onto the canvas.
• Nonsense and Irrational Nonsense is the basic concept of the Dada manifestation. The works of the painters tried to express the confusion felt by many people after the order of the world they lived in was turned around by the First World War, like creating poems made of unrelated words or collages comprised of unassociated scraps or images.
• "Ready-Made" Objects Marcel Duchamp and Man Ray began using prefabricated objects like stuffed animals, prints of old paintings or photographs and ticket stubs, and other artists caught on. Creating art from mass-produced objects undermined the assumption that art must be (or ever is) inherently original and assaulted the "deification" of the artist as the central theme of art. An early example of readymade art was Duchamps "Bicycle Wheel," a sculpture that consisted of a stool with an upside-down bicycle wheel attached to the top.
• Irony The simple act of creating "art" that is "anti-art" is itself ironic, but some Dada works were imbued with an additionally dark humor. Man Rays "Gift," an iron with spikes on the underside, works irony into the piece in a number of ways. The juxtaposition of an implement of aesthetic enhancement (an iron) with its antithesis (the spikes) is ironic, as is the double-meaning of the title itself.
Marcel Duchamp (1887-1968): Avant-Garde Artist • He was considered as one of the most famous artists of the 20th century. Marcel Duchamp, as all the other representatives of the Dada current, managed to completely change the vision on art. • He used to artistically present different objects surrounding him and called them “found art”. Such a representation isI have forced myself to contradict L.H.O.O.Q., an ironization of myself in order to avoid the famous painting Mona conforming to my own taste.’ Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci. --Marcel Duchamp Mona Lisa is rendered with a beard and a mustache, in black and white. •
L.H.O.O.Q • The title is a typical Duchamp witticism. Pronouncing those letters in French makes the sentence Elle a chaud au cul, for which the literal translation is she is hot in the ass.
Max Ernst (1891-1976): Painter, Sculptor, Graphic Artist, Poet • He founded a Dada group in Cologne in 1919. • One of his most important works is Celebes, realized in 1921. This work combines over realistic elements with those of the Dadaism specific collage. • His paintings areArt has nothing to do with characterized bytaste. Art is not there to be spontaneity and they are tasted. --Max Ernst very abstract.
Pietá ou La revolution la nuit realized in 1923. It is a controversial painting since the critics claimed that it is a reproduction of the Virgin Mary holding her baby, but the Virgin is replaced by the artist’s father and Jesus by the artist himself.
Francis Picabia (1879-1953): Painter, Avant-Garde Artist • A French painter, Picabia is one of the most famous painters of Dadaism. • He formed a group for the supporters of Dadaism in Barcelona • His most important Dada talks with you, it is everything, it painting is Amorous includes everything, it belongs to all religions, can be neither victory nor Parade.defeat, it lives in space and not in time. - -Francis Picabia
Tristan Tzara (1896-1963): Avant-Garde Artist • A Romanian poet and performance artist, journalist, playwrig ht, art critic and film director. • He became one of the pioneer activists of Dada in Zurich where his shows at the Cabaret Voltaire, as well as his writings and manifestos, were the Freedom: Dada, Dada, Dada, crying open the constricted pains, swallowing driving features ofthe contrasts and all the contradictions, extremist Dadaism. the grotesqueries and the illogicalities of life. --Tristan Tzara
Raoul Hausmann (1886-1971): Painter, Photographer • He was a leading member of the satirical and highly political Berlin branch of Pioneered the technique of photomontage – the art of affixing and juxtaposing photographs or other “found” illustrative materials onto a flat surface, not like an embellished type of collage.
RaoulHausmann’sSelf-portrait of theDadasopher, collage-photomontage , 1920.