Stories of the open road

Tales of a Vagabond...

Untitled-1By Pathum Punchihewa

"I speak only of myself since I do not wish to convince, I have no right to drag others into my river, I oblige no one to follow me and everybody practices his art in his own way."

- Tristan Tzara "Dada Manifesto 1918"

In the times of World War I, an international Nihilistic movement arose and flourished in Zürich, Switzerland, and hailed on the lands of France and Germany between the years of 1916 to about 1922.annablume-dadaism

The fitting definition for the Dadaism or ‘dada’ is that it is a cultural movement in visual art as well as literature- mainly poetry, theatre and graphic design.

Despite many other things ignited the movement, ‘Dadaism’ is primarily a protest against human wars that brought nothing but mass destructions and barbarianism to the mankind.

As the Dadaism itself is a nihilism movement, the dada artists arose to the peak furiously, as a reaction to the non-ideological, irrational, obtuse nihilistic behaviors of society. As the society was inefficient to in touching the nihilism, and aesthetic instruments, experiences were poor, the Dadaism arose as an anti-Hero.

cut_with_knife_dada_hannah_hochDadaism is clearly not an art but an anti-art. Art was concerned with aesthetics but Dadaism just ignored the fact. If an artistic creation means a latent message, Dada artists made their pieces purposely meaningless and non-interpretational leaving the idea of a Dada masterpiece totally depends on the viewer. Even Dada writers laid aside aesthetic and human features and used words illogically and inconsequently. They used ballistics of nihilistic and artificial words to protest and allege their friction to such a synthetic and nihilistic world.

Dadaism was a movement for a short period through the history but still the legacy of Dadaism flows through many contemporary art and literature genres. The irony is that “Dada” is an influential movement in Modern art too. Also Dada qualities utility in concrete poetry, feminist art genres and post modernism movements as well.dadaism2

Artists such as Hans Arp, Marcel Duchamp, Francis Picabia, Hugo Ball, Max Ernst, Raoul Hausmann, Man Ray, John Heartfield, Marcel Janco, Kurt Schwitters, Sophie Taeuber-Arp hailed as Dada pioneers and Tristan Tzara was the one who composed the Dada manifesto in 1918.

"Dada is a state of mind... Dada is artistic free thinking... Dada gives itself to nothing...." André Breton defines Dadaism.

“This is not to say that Dada is definable, for it was one of the primary goals of Dada to avoid the labeling and legitimizing of the establishment. Early on in the development of the trend, Hugo Ball made it quite clear, ‘How can one get rid of everything that smacks of journalism, worms, everything nice and right, blinkered, moralistic, Europeanized, enervated? By saying Dada...’ The principles of Dada had existed before in the schools of Expressionism, Cubism, and Futurism, but the principles had a change in language. The formations of these ideas are worth further examination.”

Published on Daily Mirror (07th April 2011)


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