‘Dada was, officially, not a movement, its artists not artists and its art not art.‘

Dada was a literary and artistic movement born in Europe at a time of World War I. Due to the war, a number of artists, writers and intellectuals who had taken refuge in Zurich began to despise the war and everything that it stood for. This hated for the war fuelled these people to undertake an artistic protest and so Dada was born.

The Dadaists wanted no part in any movement that had contributed to the war, nor did they want to be any part of their traditions. For these people the only common interest they shared were their ideals and so when it came to choosing the name of their movement some say that it was a random pick from the dictionary which apparently means “hobby horse” in French.

The Dadaists started to produce ‘art’ in the form of scatological humour, visual puns and everyday objects and thrust it into the public eye. The most famous Dadaist was Marcel Duchamp who is famously known for his sculpture entitled fountain. This ‘fountain’ was in actual fact just a urinal which he signed with an alias.

Another of Duchamp’s famous works is his adaption of the Mona Lisa in which he painted a moustache onto her face and scribbled a profanity underneath.

The public, as expected, were repulsed by the work of the Dadaists which encouraged their work and enthused other groups of Dadaists to start up all over Europe and New York City.

Finally, just as mainstream artists were considering Dadaism, in 1920 Dada (in a true Dadaist fashion) dissolved itself.

Dadaist artwork was colourful, sarcastic, humorous and daft. If a person was unaware of the meaning behind the creation of the movement then they most likely wouldn’t understand the principles in the slightest.

A main rule to Dadaists was to never follow any known rules that existed when creating their own artwork. ‘It’s worth noting, though, that assemblage, collage, photomontage and the use of ready made objects all gained wide acceptance due to their use in Dada art.’ 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.

http://arthistory.about.com/cs/arthistory10one/a/dada.htm

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