Every single civilian took part in World War I. The women
did their roles by staying and taking over their husbands’ jobs
in factories, the men went fighting, and the artists protested. The protest
that the artists lead in Europe against World War I was called Dada art,
and it was a parody of bourgeois society combined with its conservatism
and traditional thought.
In order to mock and defy the bourgeois pretentious intellectual
and cognitive behavior, the artwork these artists created included absurdities,
obscurities, and random abstract pieces that could be interpreted without
any structured explanation or gestalt.
Raoul Hausmann (Austrian, 1886-1971) who created “The
Mechanical Head”, which was a piece that had a head of a mannequin
in wood with a series of abstract objects attached to it, such as a leather
pocketbook, a collapsing aluminum cup, as well as brass and cardboard
Marcel Duchamp (French-American, 1887-1968) created the
“Large Class (the Bride Striped Bare By Her Bachelors) was a painting
made by oil and bizarrely combined with lead wire-both on glass!
These were all questions that the artists wanted to address
by abandoning any commitment to a literal track of the environment that
surrounds it. They wanted the world to represent something new and they
wanted to have “the material” suggest something new and visually
challenging to what we tend to accept daily and so casually.
Dada led on from Expressionism, Cubism, and Futurism, and in turn prepared the way for Surrealism. It was enlivened by bizarre and extravagant personalities, notably Tristan Tzara, Francis Picabia, Hans Arp, Kurt Schwitters, Marcel Duchamp, Max Ernst, and Man Ray, whose contributions are fully discussed. The spirit of
Dada reappeared in the 1960s in movements such as Pop
His pieces use a lot of light cast upon transparencies
(the transparency was a big interest to many artists in the turn of the
century), they create a very foreign yet recognizable series of silhouette
or shadows that although are very strange, they seem to have a remarkable
resemblance to real life. To me, they serve as a shadow to the realm and
the world we live in. In a way, the series of transparencies he produced
(like “Rayogram” from1923 and “Rayograph” from
1922) are negative images of the world we live in.
To him, the best way to deliver these questions was to
psychologically hide them within a photograph, and aiming that the hidden
taboo subtext would philosophically pose itself in the photograph and
would be cognitively understood by those who give it a second thought.
To me, Dada art combines silliness, a sense of humor, with complications and contradictions in order to produce a thought and an idea. Sometimes the outcome is not necessarily beautiful nor does it look “artistic”, but to me, a true artist is not a person who can use a paintbrush or a camera well, but a person who thinks well and has something to say, who uses the paintbrush or the camera as a vehicle to deliver their opinion to the masses.
Artcyclopedia. Home Page. November 16, 2002.
ArtLex. Home Page. November 16, 2002.
Clarke, Graham. The Photograph. Oxford University Press:
Szarkowski, John. Looking at Photographs. Museum of Modern
Art: New York,