Was an artistic and literary movement dating from 1916-1923, that sought the discovery of authentic reality through the breaking down of traditional culture and aesthetic forms. It was a group(s) that made anti-aesthetic creations and participated in protest activities, to illustrate their disgust for the bourgeois values and despair over World War I.
Dada (French word, child's word for a horse), was an arts movement
that flourished primarily in France, Switzerland, and Germany. This movement was based on the principles of deliberate irrationality, anarchy, and cynicism and rejected the laws of beauty and social organization. It was a movement of protest – showing their disgust for the bourgeois (middle class with its conventional ideas and tastes) values and despair over World War I.
The different groups/centers were located in Berlin, Hanover, Köln, Paris, and Zurich. In the United States the movement was centered in New York primarily at the studio of Alfred Stieglitz. One of the artists, Picabia, traveled between Europe and United States, and became the link between the different Dada groups. After 1922, the Dada movement began to fade, with many of its members changing their interests to surrealism.
The Dada movement developed after the poet Hugo Ball opened the Cabaret Voltaire in Zurich, Switzerland, as a gathering place for poets, painters, and musicians. The story goes that at a meeting held in 1916, a knife was inserted into a French-German dictionary and it pointed to the word dada. The French painter Marcel Duchamp joined the movement and became the group's most prominent visual artist, and most articulate spokesman.
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Some of the Movement's members include; Hans Arp (1887-1966), sculptor, painter and poet from Strasbourg, Switzerland. Visited Paris in 1904 and stayed until 1914, after the declaration of war, he returned to Switzerland. In 1915, while exhibiting his first abstract works in Zurich Arp met and later married Sophie Taeuber. Arp was the co-founder of the Zurich Dada movement in 1916.
Sophie Taeuber-Arp (1889-1943), painter, graphic designer, interior designer born in Davos, Switzerland. Married to Hans Arp in 1921. Best known for her interior design of the Café Aubette in Strasbourg.
André Breton (1896-?), critic, writer and poet, from France. Breton joined the Dada movement in Paris. Co-founder of Littérature a publication serving the cause of the dadists. Played an important role in the Dada publications in Paris. Around 1924 with his writing became the founder of the surrealist
Marcel Duchamp (1887-1968), painter, poet, experimentator in films, from Blainville, France. Was influenced by cubism. In 1914-15 Duchamp did a series of works called Ready-Mades which were every day objects like a snow-shovel, bottle opener, etc. In 1915 he went to New York and became associated with Alfred Stieglitz. 1920 Duchamp did some writing under the name Rrose Sélavy. It was through Duchamp's personality that his works
held such great influence on young artists.
"I used printed papers, printed fabrics…which chance…had placed before me." Hans Arp
Other members included; Max Ernst (1891-1976), painter and poet born near Cologne, Germany. Never had any formal artisic training. Went to Paris in 1913 and was influenced by the work of Picasso and de Chirico. Met Arp in 1914, and for a number collaborated with him on various
publications and exhibitions. Went on to become one of the leading surrealist painters.
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George Grosz (1893-1959), painter, writer, and caricaturist from Berlin, Germany. Became involved with the Berlin dada movement in 1918. Grosz took no pity with his caricatures of the German bourgeoisie and of the German military. Grosz went to the United States in 1932, where his work became romantic and idyllic.
John Heartfield (1891-1968), expert of photomontages involved in the Berlin dada movement. Organizer of the First International Dada Fair in Berlin in 1920.
Kurt Schwitters (1887-1948), artist, graphic designer, typographer, set designer and poet from Hanover, Germany. In Berlin Schwiters started
his own form of dadaism he called Merz, and from 1923-1932 published a magazine also called Merz which included his poems and art.
Tristan Tzara (1896-1963), poet and essayist, born in Romania and moving early on to France. Tzara is primarily known as a founder of Dada. In Paris
often participated in activities to shock the public and disintegrate the structures of language. Around 1930, Tzara became more involved in the activities of Surrealism. His poems dealt with the daily tragedy of the human condition.
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By 1921-1922 the Dada members start to publish written attacks against one another, and by the end of 1922 the movement was no longer an organized group. In 1924, André Breton publishes a surrealist manifesto, with which many of the remaining dadaists join. Schwitter's publication Merz did continue on for another several years.
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