Several artists in Zürich were grouped around Tristan Tzara and Jean Arp. They produced works that were totally new and in clash with all artistic rules. They advocated the end of all ideologies and promoted total liberty in all artistic creation.
This was DADA, an intellectual, literary and aesthetic movement which, beginning from 1914, would completely defy all artistic and social rules.
The horrors of the WWI had made old conventions obsolete. Humor, derision, absurdity, infantile mood, disrespect, scandal, eroticism, nudity, collage, the abstraction and a totally deconstructed typography were the traits of Dada.
These Avant-Garde artists would express themselves in all aspects of Art, poetry, theatre, dance, paintings and sculpture. Their Art had a strong political, revolutionary and libertine content that upset the establishment and often provoked scandal. After the war, certain Dada happenings were censored, even prohibited and the works had been destroyed.
The name Dada originated in Zürich in May 1916 during an artists meeting (Tristan Tzarra, Jean Arp, Hugo Ball, Marcel Janco and Sophie Taeuber-Arp) in a Niederdorf café that they baptized ‘Café Voltaire’. The origin and the meaning of ‘Dada’ remain still uncertain. The Dadaists deliberately covered their tracks by making contradictory declarations in spirit with the movement.
Dada is Dada.
From 1918 several artists joined the DADA movement: André Breton, Paul Eluard, Louis Aragon and Erik Satie in France, Marcel Duchamp, Francis Picabia and Man Ray in the USA, Georges Grosz and Kurt Schwitters in Germany. In 1921 most of the Parisians began to leave the group and in 1923 was declared, “Dada is dead”. This fact, paved the way for Surrealism.
Dada left us with very few printed documents. Several museums are lucky enough to have several posters of Dada events, usually small in size. These Art objects rarely distributed to the market. However Dada influence was enormous. By having broken all the rules, Dada allowed the diversity and creativity of Modern and Contemporary Art.
DADA is the Key to 20th century Art.