1.6.4 Dada (1916-1930)

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QUICK LINKS:
Bride Stripped Bare by her Bachelors, Duchamp
Table Salt, Schwitters
Torso, Arp

Opened by Customs, Schwitters
Flag, Johns

Dada was an art movement formed during the First World War in Zurich in negative reaction to the horrors and folly of the war. The art, poetry and performance produced by dada artists is often satirical and nonsensical in nature.

Dada artists felt the war called into question every aspect of a society capable of starting and then prolonging it – including its art. Their aim was to destroy traditional values in art and to create a new art to replace the old. As the artist Hans Arp later wrote: Revolted by the butchery of the 1914 World War, we in Zurich devoted ourselves to the arts. While the guns rumbled in the distance, we sang, painted, made collages and wrote poems with all our might.

In addition to being anti-war, dada was also anti-bourgeois and had political affinities with the radical left.

[Source: tate.org.uk]

[1640-10]

The Bride Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors, Even is often called the Large Glass because that is precisely what it is: two pieces of glass, which are stacked vertically and framed like a double-hung window to reach over nine feet tall.

Though the Large Glass is essentially a flat, two-dimensional object, it is emphatically not a painting, as it is mostly transparent—you can walk around it and view it from both sides—and Duchamp avoided using traditional materials like canvas and oil paint. Instead, he concocted the imagery on the glass surface out of wire, foil, glue, and varnish. He also allowed dust to collect on the glass as it laid flat in his studio, which he affixed with adhesive.
[Source: khanacademy.org]

Image source: Wikimedia commons
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Bride Stripped Bare by her Bachelors, Even (aka Large Glass, The)1915-23Wire/Foil/OilAbstract
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
Duchamp, Marcel1887-1968, aged 81French-American artistDada
LOCATION:SIZE (cms): [1640-11]

Philadelphia Museum of Art278 x 176  
Image source: tate.org.ukTable Salt is a collage made of printed material adhered to thin board. A bold, geometric pattern in dense black ink dominates a rectangular piece of buff paper measuring some thirty centimetres in height.

In the upper zone, the German word ‘Tafelsalz’, oriented vertically, appears in capital letters; the source was a label for a packet of salt. Overlaying this pattern, and oriented in the opposite direction, is a line illustration of two fruits and the word ‘Aprikose’ (meaning ‘apricot’ in German).

Mounted on a piece of off-white paper, the image is inscribed by the artist in pencil ‘Z.i.20 – Tafelsalz’ on its lower edge and signed and dated 1922.
[Source: tate.org.uk]
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Table Salt (Tafelsalz)1922Prntd Ppr on PprAbstract
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
Schwitters, Kurt1887-1948, aged 60German artistDada
LOCATION:SIZE (cms): [1640-12]

Tate Galleries, Millbank, Westminster, London SW1P 4RG UK32 x 23  
Since earliest times images of the human body have played a central role in art. Since Auguste Rodin in particular, many artists have focused their attention on the representation of torsos. Arp also produced variations on this subject in numerous sculptures.

As early as 1930, a human Torso formed one of his first three-dimensional works. In Leaf-torso we witness, however, the metamorphosis of human and plant. They provide evidence of Arp’s constant preoccupation with the natural processes of growth.

Art is a fruit growing out of man like the fruit out of a plant like the child out of the mother… Jean Arp, Dada Diary, 1932
[Source: arpmuseum.org]

Image source: sothebys.com
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Torso1932 Sculpture
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
Arp, Jean (Hans Peter Wilhelm)1886-1966, aged 79German-French sculptorDada
LOCATION:SIZE (cms): [1640-13]

Georges Pompidou Centre, Place Georges-Pompidou, 75004 Paris, France0  
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is SchwittersOpenedByCustoms.jpg
Image source: tate.org.uk
This work is a collage made from different types of low quality paper such as packaging, wrapping and newsprint, which have then been overlaid in places by strokes of oil paint and crayon marks.

The white paper support has buckled badly and the overall colour is now a yellowy brown, as the original colours have faded badly.

Amongst the various collage elements, certain items stand out. Most notable are a partially visible torn photograph of a man in a suit in the bottom right corner, a page of typed Norwegian text covered with strokes of coloured paint in the bottom left corner, a colourful fruit wrapping slightly right of centre and at the top, three partially obscured German custom labels stamped with Hanover postage marks. It is this last element that gives the work its title.
[Source: tate.org.uk]
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Opened by Customs1937-8PaperAbstract
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
Schwitters, Kurt1887-1948, aged 60German artistDada
LOCATION:SIZE (cms): [1640-14]

Tate Galleries, Millbank, Westminster, London SW1P 4RG UK33 x 25  
The forty-eight stars and red-and-white stripes depicted here picture an American
flag from the year this work was made.

Johns noted that using a recognisable image took care of a great deal for him because he didn’t have to design it. He made this work by combining panels, paint, and encaustic, a mixture of pigment and melted wax that captured the paint’s drips, smears, and brushstrokes.

Beneath the flag’s familiar stripes, we can make out a collage of newspaper scraps whose dates locate this commonplace symbol within a particular moment.
[Source: moma.org]

Image source: moma.org
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Flag1954-5OilAbstract
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
Johns, Jasper 1930 –American painterNeo-Dada
LOCATION:SIZE (cms):  
MOMA, Museum of Modern Art, 11 W 53rd St, New York, NY 10019, USA107 x 154  

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Back to 1.6.3 Futurism Index (1909 – 1944)

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