Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Dadaism or Dada is a post-World War I cultural movement in visual art as well as literature (mainly poetry), theatre and graphic design. The movement was, among other things, a protest against the barbarism of World War I and what Dadaists believed was an oppressive intellectual rigidity in both art and everyday society. Deliberate irrationality and the rejection of the prevailing standards of art characterize Dada. It influenced later movements including surrealism.
Dada probably began in the Cabaret Voltaire in Zürich in 1916 (by some accounts on October 6), and there were active Dadaists in New York such as Marcel Duchamp, and art student Beatrice Wood, who had left France at the onset of World War I. At around the same time there was a Dadaist movement in Berlin. Slightly later there were also Dadaist un-communities in Hanover (Kurt Schwitters), Cologne, and Paris. In 1920, Max Ernst, Hans Arp and social activist Alfred Grünwald set up the Cologne Dada group.
Interestingly, at the same time that the Zürich Dadaists made noise and spectacle at the Cabaret Voltaire, Vladimir Lenin wrote his revolutionary plans for Russia in a nearby apartment. He was unappreciative of the artistic revolutionary activity near him. Tom Stoppard used this coincidence as a premise for his play Travesties (1974), which includes Tzara, Lenin, and James Joyce as characters.
The French avant-garde kept abreast of Dada activities in Zürich with regular communications from Tristan Tzara, who exchanged letters, poems, and magazines with Guillaume Apollinaire, André Breton, Max Jacob, and other French writers, critics and artists. The first introduction of Dada artwork to the Parisian public was at the Salon des Indépendants in 1921. Jean Crotti exhibited works associated with Dada including a work entitled, Explicatif bearing the word "Tabu".
Dada influence reached out into sound and music. Kurt Schwitters developed what he called "sound poems" and composers such as Erwin Schulhoff , Hans Heusser and Albert Savinio wrote "Dada music", while members of Les Six collaborated with Dada movement members and their pieces played at Dada gatherings.
By the dawn of World War II, many of the European Dadaists had fled or emigrated to the United States. Some died in death camps under Hitler, who disliked the kind of radical art that Dada represented. The movement became less active as post-World War II optimism led to new movements in art and literature.
Cabaret Voltaire fell into disrepair until it was occupied by a group claiming to be neo-Dadaists in June-August of 2002. After their eviction the Cabaret Voltaire became a museum dedicated to the history of Dada and the Dada movement.
Origins of the word Dada
The origins of the name "Dada" are unclear. Some believe that it is a nonsensical word. Some believe it originates from the Romanian artists Tristan Tzara and Marcel Janco's frequent use of the words "da, da", meaning "yes, yes" in the Romanian language. Others believe that a group of artists assembled in Zürich in 1916, wanting to form a movement, chose a name at random by stabbing a French-German dictionary, and picking the name that the point landed upon. "Dada" in French is a child's word for "hobby-horse". French also has the colloquialism "c'est mon dada" meaning "it's my hobby".
An anti-art movement?
According to its proponents, Dada was not art — it was anti-art. For everything that art stood for, Dada was to represent the opposite. Where art was concerned with aesthetics, Dada ignored aesthetics. If art was to have at least an implicit or latent message, Dada strove to have no meaning — interpretation of Dada is dependent entirely on the viewer. If art is to appeal to sensibilities, Dada offends. Perhaps it is then ironic that Dada is an influential movement in modern art. Dada became a commentary on art and the world, thus becoming art itself.
Dada and nihilism
The artists of the Dada movement were disillusioned by art, art history and history in general. Many of them were veterans of World War I and were cynical of humanity after seeing what men were capable of doing to each other on the battlefields of Europe. Thus they were attracted to a nihilistic world view (they thought that nothing mankind had achieved was worthwhile, not even art), and created art in which chance and randomness formed the basis of creation.
The basis of Dada is nonsense. With the order of the world destroyed by World War I, Dada was a way to express the confusion felt by many people as their world turned upside down. There was not an attempt to find meaning in disorder, but rather to accept disorder as the nature of the world. Many embraced this disorder through Dada, using it as a means to express their distaste for the aesthetics of the previous order and carnage it reaped. Through this rejection of traditional culture and aesthetics they hoped to reach a personal understanding of the true nature of the world around them.
For the more complete list of Dadaists, see List of Dadaists.
- Guillaume Apollinaire
- Hans Arp
- Hugo Ball
- Arthur Cravan
- Jean Crotti
- Marcel Duchamp
- Max Ernst
- Raoul Hausmann
- Emmy Hennings
- Richard Huelsenbeck
- Marcel Janco
- Francis Picabia
- Man Ray
- Hans Richter
- Kurt Schwitters
- Sophie Täuber
- Tristan Tzara
- Clement Pansaers
- Richard Huelsenbeck, Memoirs of a Dada Drummer, (University of California Press) (paperback)
- Greil Marcus, "Lipstick Traces," (Harvard Press)
- 1918 Dada Manifesto
- Expressionism in film is seen as having its beginnings in Dadaism.
- Futurism positivistic predecessor to Dadaism.
- List of Dadaistic pieces
- Surrealism, evolved from Dadaism.
- Dada Online
- Dada Manifesto 2001
- Tristan Tzara
- The Dada Manifesto
- Dadaism Information
- Cut & Paste - A History of Photomontage
- DadaTextes (mostly in French)
The contents of this article is licensed from www.wikipedia.org under the GNU Free Documentation License. Click here to see the transparent copy and copyright details