Dada is an international movement in fine arts and literature that appeared as a feedback to horrors of World War I. Art elite influenced by this anti-war movement expressed their protest against the war, and against traditional views on culture expressed by society. The name of the movement was chosen randomly and is supposed to have no connection with movement’s actions and meaning overall.
Dada movement was active for a comparatively short period of time, from 1915 to 1923. However, it managed to leave a substantial track on the history of culture due to its dissimilarity with anything people created before and afterwards. The creative works of Dadaists are unusual, not to say shocking. Yet, they probably have the right to express what they felt towards their reality that was not less shocking afterall. In fact, it was horrifying. A war as a concept is revolting, but when a war is in action, human mind simply cannot grasp that inhuman reality. Millions of people died in that war, they actually were killed by other people with a help of modern weapons. Worst of all was the fact that people could settle the conflict in an intelligent way, but they chose to act violently towards each other. People who are so culturally and intellectually developed chose to be deadly destructive. Therefore, by their creative works Dadaists wanted to demonstrate that people totally deserved that shocking, irrational and unaesthetic culture.
One of the most powerful participants of Dada movement was Hannah Hoch, a German artist. In 1919 she created a photomontage “Cut with the Kitchen Knife through the First Epoch of the Weimar Beer-Belly Culture”. I believe that this work conveys the spirit of Dada in a very clear way.
The work is not something people can enjoy looking at, just like most of Dada creations. On the contrary, it has a very depressing effect. The pictures Hoch uses for her photomontage are gloomy in colors. There are parts of people’s figures scattered around. Primarily, these are either heads or, heads with attached bodies. Also, there are parts of weapons that are purposefully made very big, bigger than people; they hang over crowds, threatening them and showing people that weapon make difference in the world.
Generally, the work is a representation of chaos and craziness that was all around Hannah Hoch in contemporary Germany. The artist managed to express her attitude towards it, and created a very meaningful and powerful work.
The creative work of Marcel Duchamp also has some bright examples of Dada art movement. However, his Dadaist works can rather be related to American, rather than European Dada. The works of American Dadaists were strange and provoking, rather than anti-war in their character.
Marcel Duchamp’s most famous Dadaist works are probably “Fountain” and “Bicycle Wheel”. Both works are so-called “ready-mades”. The artist simply used some ordinary objects, a urinal for “Fountain” and bicycle wheel with its fork for “Bicycle Wheel”. Then, he signed the objects and gave them names. For some people it …
Posted by: Wendie Dobbs