Dada Movement

The Dada movement began in Zurich, Switzerland in 1916. It was a reaction to the tumultuous events in the political & global arena’s.  The artists rebelled against their current reality, suggesting perhaps that if the world around them didn’t make sense then their art didn’t have to make sense either. So intent were members of Dada on opposing all norms of bourgeois culture that the group was barely in favor of itself: “Dada is anti-Dada,” they often cried.

One of the most famous examples of Dadist work is by Marcel Duchamp who, along with Man Ray & Francis Picabia, led the charge of the Dada movement in America. Duchamp’s work, “Fountain”, takes the everyday object of a urinal & turns it 90 Degrees, calling it “Fountain”. He believed that it was as much the concept that made the art as it was the object its self.

Love the humor.

“People took modern art very seriously when it first reached America because they believed we took ourselves very seriously. A great deal of modern art is meant to be amusing.” Marcel Duchamp. Taken from the article below.

The Telegraph has a really great article on “Fountain” & its origin before a replica is shown in the Tate Gallery.

This is the only remaining evidence of the work “Fountain”, the picture was taken by one of my favorite photographers Alfred Stieglitz.

Fountain – Alfred Stieglitz

Key Ideas

Dada was the first conceptual art movement where the focus of the artists was not on crafting aesthetically pleasing objects but on making works that often upended bourgeois sensibilities and that generated difficult questions about society, the role of the artist, and the purpose of art.

Dada artists are known for their use of ready made objects – everyday objects that could be bought and presented as art with little manipulation by the artist. The use of the ready made forced questions about artistic creativity and the very definition of art and its purpose in society.

Artists like Hans Arp were intent on incorporating chance into the creation of works of art. This went against all norms of traditional art production whereby a work was meticulously planned and completed. The introduction of chance was a way for Dadaists to challenge artistic norms and to question the role of the artist in the artistic process.

 Arp made a series of collages based on chance, where he would stand above a sheet of paper, dropping squares of contrasting colored paper on the larger sheet’s surface, and then gluing the squares wherever they fell onto the page.
Its curious that in my search for an image of Arp’s work, “Collage of Squares”, Google threw up this screen full of images of “Collage”…..almost like a collage in its self.! Now what are the chances of that…??
Arp - Collage of Squares
Collage of Squares



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