da da da
November 27, 2011, 7:20 pm
Filed under: the sweet life | Tags: , ,

Dada was a movement that wanted to be free, real, outrageous and idiotic.  The tendency of the day was bourgeois and entrenched, and to achieve their goals in this stifling milieu the group of artists and reactionaries determined to oppose a wide range of things including:  rationality, banality, armies and militarism, nationalism, brokers, personal identification and nostalgia.

I think we are in a similar place – bourgeois and entrenched – and that the dadist prescriptions from almost a hundred years ago are appropriate again for our time.

Following are some of the precepts of dada direct from the mouths of group members:

Intelligent man is now a standard type, but the thing we are short of is the idiotic.  Dada is using all its strength to establish the idiotic everywhere.

Tristan Tzara, 1915

We wanted to bring forward a new kind of human being, free from the tyranny of rationality, of banality, of generals, fatherlands, nations, art dealers, microbes, residence permits and the past.  To outrage public opinion was our basic principle.

Hans Richter, Dadaist painter

People think they can explain rationally, by means of thought, what they write. But it’s very relative. Thought is a fine thing for philosophy, but it’s relative. Psychoanalysis is a dangerous disease, it deadens man’s anti-real inclinations and systemizes the bourgeoisie.

Tristan Tzara’s Dada Manifesto

2 Comments so far
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Hi P.
I have to say I absolutely love Dada, no doubt they had some pretty ‘serious’ proposals that are still influencing the contemporary art scene.

BTW, I recently read a great book: El puño invisible (The invisible fist), by Charles Granés (not sure if it has been translated into English).

Below is a quick translation of a book review:

The invisible fist begins with a memorable image: in the same street in Zürich, a few meters away from each other, two groups of conspirators are preparing to put the twentieth century upside down. At number 14 of the Spiegelgasse, Lenin prepared the Bolshevik revolution, in the nearby Cabaret Voltaire, a group of artists prepared another revolution: Dada. “By an accident of history, one block from a quiet town in the middle of a neutral and quiet, conspiracies are hatched and exalted most turbulent of the twentieth century,” writes Granés. “Two revolutions were in progress, a political one, a cultural one the other, a willingness to dismantle the structures of states and alter the functioning of the economy and the administration of property and power, the other ready to transform the minds, habits, values and way of life of people.” The first, says Granés, seemed successful and failed, the second seemed to fail and eventually succeeded. His (fascinating) essay proposes questions of how this happened.


Comment by Pablo Meninato

Interesting story of parallel movements. Thanks for sharing this.

Comment by Peter Rudd

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