Omar Al-Suwaidi
T.V.VedioDada Art

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.

Some founders of this movement were Jean Arp (French artist), Tristan Tzara and Hugo Ball (writers), Francis Pcabla and Marcel Duchamp, just to name a few. What these individuals started evolved into Surrealism in the 1920’s. Some Dada artists include Francis Picabia (French, 1879-1953) who created a lot of collaged photographs using postcards and other papers.

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 labels.
Now that we have named a few Dada artists, let us talk about two people that I have found to be very compelling artists; Man Ray and Marcel Duchamp.

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!
In 1917, Marcel Duchamp created “Fountain”. This absurd form of art featured a series of urinals that have been exhibited professionally and elegantly to be addressed and considered a form of “art”. The beauty of this whole experiment is that Duchamp succeeded in delivering his point; display anything the proper way and they’ll think of it as art. This experiment really embraces Dadaism at its best and shows to what extent art has reached.

For the “Fountain” project, he used a readymade porcelain urinal. The urinal was originally purchased from a company in New York called Mott Works. To add humor to it, the urinal was signed “R. Mutt”. Because the work was considered obscure and absurd at the very same time, many committees of various exhibitions refused to display it.

Another piece that I found interesting by Marcel Duchamp was Torture-Morte. This 1959 piece was painted plaster and flies on paper mounted on wood. This piece is a parody of the title of the piece itself. Torture-Morte means still life…And that is exactly what he shows. A living creature is now “still” and is captured on canvas.

Although these experiments seem bizarre, we have to keep in mind that the artists were constantly seeking to manipulate the truth or material. In their own way, they questioned the object or the “material”. Is this what it really is? Why is it so conformed that it would be considered obscure and out of the ordinary if we removed it from its conformed location and place it somewhere else? Why would something so ordinary and casual be considered a piece of art if it was framed or presented right?

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.
Dadaism truly presents ideas that question art and reminds us how it has become “a practice” rather than “simply art”. Their pieces became larger than life demonstrations of radial aesthetics.

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 Art.
Another Dada artist that I would like to discuss is Man Ray. By far, this man’s work exceeds many other artists’ when it comes to not just originality, but the disturbing message that he tries to convey in the most beautiful pieces or photogenic pictures.

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.
As for his other works, a lot of them use us directly. He uses women has a representation of the human race, and at the same time uses them to represent at how the use of material makes us look more elegant and graceful such as his 1930 photograph, “Larmes” (Glass Tears). At the same time, these photographs of women aren’t only a representation of material and its attachment to our body and soul, but a lot of his photographs show his confusion when it comes to women and sexuality and gender-related questions that he addresses in a time where these questions were hardly worded or discussed.

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: Oxford, 1997.

Szarkowski, John. Looking at Photographs. Museum of Modern Art: New York,