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Zurich Dada 1916-19. Hans Arp, SophieTaeuber-Arp, Hugo Ball, Emmy Hennings, Marcel Janco, Tristan Tzara, Viking Eggeling, Richard Huelsenbeck, Hans Huesser, Hans Richter, Walter Serner, Rudolf von Laban, Mary Wigman , . “We had lost confidence in our culture.” MJ.

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zurich dada 1916 19

Zurich Dada 1916-19

Hans Arp, SophieTaeuber-Arp, Hugo Ball, Emmy Hennings, Marcel Janco,

Tristan Tzara, Viking Eggeling, Richard Huelsenbeck,

Hans Huesser, Hans Richter,

Walter Serner,

Rudolf von Laban, Mary Wigman,

we had lost confidence in our culture mj
“We had lost confidence in our culture.”MJ
  • An overt & often militant rhetoric of hostility towards the established social order that brought WWI
  • WWI was sign of the irredeemable corruption of bourgeois society
  • Aimed at negation/destruction in the social & cultural sphere
  • Zurich Dada gave this symbolic form in graphic & literary work through techniques of structural & semantic breakdown
themes elements
Themes & Elements
  • Pictorial randomness (Hans Arp)
  • Scattered layout in Dada magazines
  • Overprinting & Multiple typefaces
  • Chance; the unplanned
  • Themes of unpredictability
  • Breakdown
  • apparent incoherence
  • Destruction; negation: “sweep & clean”
  • Then begin again with a tabula rasa
zurich finis
Zurich finis
  • Internecine fighting
  • Decentered towards end of war
zurich dada
Zurich Dada
  • Political & aesthetic
  • Performance –oriented
  • Manifestoes
  • Contradictory
  • Very literary in Zurich
  • Non-traditional materials
  • Still colonialist in its appropriations & desires for the “primitive”
  • Was it political enough to effect changes?

“They wanted to create an art which helps people to understand & see through reality, one that encourages them to make it more humane.” It was to be a committed art…

The foundation for this art had also been laid, however, spontaneously, playfully, universally—by Zurich Dada. The first phase of Dada in the Cabaret Voltaire was decisive for its development, since it was here that the toys were demolished & theN tested again.

It was Dada in action before it was there, dada was there, there (da da).

  • Invented Dada from scratch; had no goals; it did not know what dada was supposed to be
  • In a savage act the linguistic & visual systems for human control of the world that had been erected on the foundation of the Enlightenment were not only placed in question, they were destroyed
  • In this way, one accomplished, artistically & intellectually, what the war had realized materially & politically: the destruction of the traditional image of human beings & the world that had already been destabilized some time before. Thus only protest, negation, & destruction were decisive.
  • Opposed meaning based on bourgeois logic & opposed to words derived from it
and cont d
And cont’d
  • Burlesques & criticized the world of tradition as a whole, its way of thinking & acting, its ideals & rituals, & its ART
  • Dada art respected neither genius nor the ideal work, neither hierarchies nor specifics of the media
  • The law was lawlessness
  • Chance, wit, & provocation
  • Move from figuration to abstraction
  • Move from conventional language to fragmentation (& then to the letter)
  • They had eliminated subjective, elitist, conventional forms, motifs, & techniques still present in their art
  • Art had theoretically forfeited its exclusivity
  • Art had left the museum, the pub, & then returned from there back to the gallery. But it was then no longer what it had been before; it remained a decidedly Dada art, an art that embodies the end in itself, superfluity, play, frivolity, parasitism, & provocation