Dadism 1916- 1922 (Khemensley)Posted: May 17, 2011
Dada was an artistic and literary movement that started in Europe when World War I was going on. Because of the war, many artists, intellectuals and writers, especially those from France and Germany, moved to Switzerland, which was a neutral country. Instead of being relieved that they had escaped, the artists, intellectuals and writers were furious with the modern society. So, they decided to show their protest through artistic medium. They decided to create non-art since art in the society anyway had no meaning.
Dada activities included public gatherings, demonstrations, and publication of art/literary journals; passionate coverage of art, politics, and culture were topics often discussed in a variety of media. Abstraction and Expressionism were the main influences on Dada, followed by Cubism and, to a lesser extent, Futurism. There was no predominant medium in Dadaist art. All things from geometric tapestries to glass to plaster and wooden reliefs were fair game. Assemblage, collage, photomontage and the use of ready made objects all gained wide acceptance due to their use in Dada art. For something that supposedly meant nothing, Dada created a lot of offshoots. In addition to spawning numerous literary journals, Dada influenced many concurrent trends in the visual arts (especially in the case of Constructivism). The best-known movement Dada was directly responsible for is Surrealism. The movement went onto influence later styles like the avant-garde and downtown music movements, and groups including surrealism, Nouveau réalisme, pop art, Fluxus and punk rock.
Using an early form of Shock Art, the Dadaists thrust mild obscenities, scatological humor, visual puns and everyday objects (renamed as “art”) into the public eye. Marcel Duchamp performed the most notable outrages by painting a mustache on a copy of the Mona Lisa (and scribbling an obscenity beneath) and proudly displaying his sculpture entitled Fountain (which was actually a urinal, sans plumbing, to which he added a fake signature). The public, of course, was revulsed – which the Dadaists found wildly encouraging. Enthusiasm being contagious, the (non)movement spread from Zurich to other parts of Europe and New York City. And just as mainstream artists were giving it serious consideration, in the early 1920s, Dada (true to form) dissolved itself. In an interesting twist, this art of protest – based on a serious underlying principle – is delightful. The nonsense factor rings true. Dada art is whimsical, colorful, wittily sarcastic and, at times, downright silly.