In the years of World War I, the world was losing faith, love, and sense of reality. Dada or Dadaism established with artistic individuals who were in need of escape and express their, outrage, anger towards the cruel acts that were being taken and happening during World War I. Dada was therefore considered at the time to be a moral revolution by using art to promote love, empowerment and positivity.
(UK Essays. November 2013.)The official birth of Dada was on the 5th February 1916 with Hugo Ball and Emmy Hennings who established the Cabaret Voltaire. To allure artists to the event, adverts were created to put attention on artistic entertainment and the Cabernet being operated by the writers, artists and creative individuals that joined together with there talents such as musical performances and readings of poems or stories to create an engaging variety of performance. The name Dada is unsure of and theories have been created to give a reason to why they called themselves Dada. One theory being that the name translated into French means hobbyhorse. The name Dada is another attempt to destroy the idea of things having logic and make sense and people finding a reason and a purpose for everything. This would make sense with the art that dada went on to create having no logic or understanding.(Elger, 2004)Some believe Dada is a nonsensical word while others believe that the word actually arises from the Romanian artists Tristan Tzara’s and Marcel Janco’s who would have frequent use of the words da, da that translated into Rumanian means yes, yes. This theory making sense as the word yes can relate to Dada’s views on art of yes to life and yes to art.(Courses.lumenlearning.com, 2017)
As Dada believed that art was life and that life and art were both believed to be as important as each other. To understand Dada and there views on art reflect on what was happening during the time. With the war, happing art was largely influenced by ways people could distract themselves from what was described as ‘A unique and terrible experience for all’ (The British Library, 2014)the desire to create abstract art and escape the world and possibilities that people currently were living in. Artist could and were experimenting with art and playing with themes and reality of art becoming a huge purpose for the art as it meant people were able to create and be creative in any way that was possible, they could think of new ways to be creative and create what had not been created or ever been done before. People were able to be fresh and new with art and Dada viewed this concept as being as important as life. With human life being taken so quickly and fast by the war and lives being ruined, the art became the new life the same way birth creates the new human life of a child who will grow to be individuals with own opinions and thoughts, the art was the same. That being art was created would begin new ideas for other work and opinions and thoughts on the art were created, and this became important especially during the war with everything being destroyed it meant that new things could and had to be created them things being art.
Dada and art have such a strong relationship, the creation of the art and the creative process of making this art came from the reactions of the artists at the time. The creative process involves steps the first thing to understand about Dada and the creative process is what the creative process is and what does it involve and how can Dada relate to it? First thing about the creative process is preparation. The preparation step for Dada was by the individual artist who were becoming either curious, angry or wanted to express their emotion of the current problem they were experiencing, that problem being the war. Then with these feelings ideas would be created to prepare for art. But with the idea that Dada would create art from chance, artist would have to prepare themselves for chance to happen and what could be created had to be thought of first. Incubation was the next step for the artist or individual working with the creative process and with Dada it was the step that would begins artist to process the ideas they had created for what art they could create that had not been done already. The artist using their imagination contract the idea of the creation of art, they might not know what the final outcome of the art will be but again that can be created by chance. As the ideas become more serious and potentially an idea for work this step is called Illumination the artist are aware that they have an idea that is good for work and what can be created from the idea still in early stages but the idea can still be developed. When the idea needs to be established if the idea can become something more than an idea, this step called Verification and the idea can be pursued onto something. For example with Dada believing the idea is more important than the art or the work. With the type of creative expression in the form of avant-grande art, that was associated with the performing arts and theory of the conceptual art that was Dada would call happenings.(Visual-arts-cork.com, 2017) With this conceptual art of things just happening created the motto for the idea being more important than the actual art itself and Dada reaction to the war was ore of an attuned than a movement until the surrealism movement was eventually founded. (Kleiner and Gardner, 1926) The ideas that artist had thought of could become a reality and it was good enough to become something. The Process of the art was more important than the actually product. The creative process for Dada was not to create something like create theatre, or general art, but the point was to engage with the process of making this art, what was being gained, find thing out through the making of the art. (Gabora, L. (2002)The quality of the work is still important but not as important as what was gained while making the final outcome. André Breton: The Power of Language says about surrealism that can relate to the creative process ‘Balakian also makes this distinction is surrealism the emphasis is placed on the ‘productive energy rather than the particular quality of the resulting product’ (Fotiade, 2000)
The unpopular opinion of Dada was that the movement was ghost-like and was designed to be ghost-like meaning that one minute the movement was in existence and the next it wasn’t. As it was short lived beginning around 1916 and ending in 1924 and being created from disgust from the social, political and cultural ideals. Dadaism embraced the movement with art, poetry, music, theatre, dance, and politics. Only being around for 8 years the Dada actually has very little art to show, that being through painting, collage, sculptures and photography. Dada form of artistic mayhem was not to create visually pleasing pieces of art but to disestablish questions on purpose of the roles of art in society. These art forms broke the expectations society had on art breaking boundaries in ways such as publishing books, painting and sculpting art and putting on the cabaret performances and acting in a way that was uncomfortable for the period of time by distributing leaflets and magazines going against the formation society expected from artwork and the traditional culture, and questioning what it is that makes art? Hugo Ball described it, ‘For us, art is not an end in itself… but an opportunity for the true perception and criticism of the times we live in’ meaning that Dada was responding to the social and political issues with general reactions to the war. (BAD LUCK, 2016)None of the art that is still around that Dada created can be seen as positive, the art was not attractive and was not meant to be. The art was to shock and show Dada displeasing views on the war in ways such as sculpting hybrids of materials like broken bicycles and broken glass bottles, metal cans and scrapped bits of household items and devising performances that made audience members shocked and either feel uncomfortable and create reactions similar to that what Dada had on the war.(Fleming, 2015)
‘The history of art is a parody of the history of politics.’ Dada Maxim believed that the history of politics was very similar to art and surrealism and through the use of Dada manifestos this can be understood, but what do Dada mean by politics? in the book A Companion to Dada and Surrealism edited by David Hopkins it talks about sexual politics saying ‘The theatre of gender recognition of cultural social and political power during the interwar era offers dada/surrealism the ideal platform for dissent'(Hopkins, 2016) dissent meaning expressions of opinions relates back to how Dada would use art to express their views on the war. It also says ‘attuned to sexual politics, are particularly well suited to the investigation of modernist enterprises'(Hopkins, 2016) that they are aware that there were problems and the war swapped the gender roles meaning stereotypical male jobs women had to do due to the men fighting in the war.
To conclude Dada was an art movement that began in the First World War in 1918 in Zurich. It was a reaction to the horrors of the war. Hugo Ball started Cabaret Voltaire that was a sort of nightclub that established the beginning of Dada. The name Dada has many different theories of what theme could stand for or mean from there is actually no reason for the name Dada. Dada and the relationship it had with art was that life and art were both believed to be as important as each other. Artist were able to be really creative and think of new ideas for what art could be. Art was made by chance but those ideas that were created could also be created by chance, as chance had a big effect on Dada and art in ways that what had not been created could now be created by chance. The creative process for Dada can come from the creative process of steps that were used to make ideas for art such as preparation, incubation, Illumination and verification, all things that can relate to how dada would create there work. In the historical, political and cultural context of Dada options being that Dada was a very short lives movement that commented on how art had now changed into the socially accepted style and question what it is that makes art and commenting on the social and political issues. overall using many different resources researching on Dada, the relationship Dada had with art and the creative process has resulted in a better understanding of Dada and information that can be used in the future in either performance or future creative projects. Researching social, political, and cultural issues has lead knowledge to be gained and a better understanding on the past and the history of Dada and points to make more sense especially with why and what Dada’s art meant. Overall this has been an interesting topic that can benefit future projects, from researching and gaining knowledge, ideas can now be created that are influenced by Dada.