Dadaism or Dada was an art movement of the European avant-garde in the early 20th century, with early centers in Zürich, Switzerland at the Cabaret Voltaire (circa 1916); New York Dada began circa 1915, and after 1920 Dada flourished in Paris. Developed in reaction to World War I, the Dada movement consisted of artists who rejected the logic, reason, and aestheticism of modern capitalist society, instead expressing nonsense, irrationality, and anti-bourgeois protest in their works.
1. Dada was founded in Zurich.
2. Dada is an artistic and literary movement that was founded in 1916. It cannot be reduced to a single form of expression, and is therefore almost impossible to define. However, the movement is generally regarded as being anti-bourgeois and anarchical, and Dada art as nonsensical, crazy and wild.
3. On February 5, 1916, Hugo Ball and his future wife, Emmy Hennings, opened the Voltaire artists’ tavern at Spiegelgasse 1 in Zurich’s Niederdorf quarter. It became a popular meeting place for many like-minded international artists and intellectuals. The cabaret was situated just a stone’s throw from the apartment of Lenin, who was also in exile here at this time.
4. The Cabaret Voltaire is the birthplace of Dada.
5. The founding members came from different countries: Germany, Rumania, France – only Sophie Taeuber Arp, the wife of Hans (Jean) Arp, was from Switzerland. Incidentally, Sophie Taeuber Arp is depicted on the Swiss 50 franc banknote.
6. The Dadaist movement included public gatherings, demonstrations, and publication of art/literary journals; passionate coverage of art, politics, and culture were topics often discussed in a variety of media.
7. Key figures in the movement included Hugo Ball, Marcel Duchamp, Emmy Hennings, Hans Arp, Raoul Hausmann, Hannah Höch, Johannes Baader, Tristan Tzara, Francis Picabia, Huelsenbeck, George Grosz, John Heartfield, Man Ray, Beatrice Wood, Kurt Schwitters, Hans Richter, and Max Ernst, among others.
8. The movement influenced later styles like the avant-garde and downtown music movements, and groups including surrealism, nouveau réalisme, pop art and Fluxus.
9. Although Dada itself was unknown in Georgia until at least 1920, from 1917 until 1921 a group of poets called themselves “41st Degree” (referring both to the latitude of Tbilisi, Georgia and to the temperature of a high fever) organized along Dadaist lines. The most important figure in this group was Iliazd, whose radical typographical designs visually echo the publications of the Dadaists. After his flight to Paris in 1921, he collaborated with Dadaists on publications and events.
10. In Zurich, the Dadaists caused an uproar with their unconventional art and bizarre activities. They drew attention to themselves by publishing false reports in the daily newspapers – including one about an alleged pistol duel between two Dadaists on the Rehalp Hill in Zurich.
11. They would regularly fling open the doors of the local taverns, shout “Dada!” at the top of their voices, and disappear again as quickly as they had come.
12. The Dadaists were the first performance artists and precursors of slam poets.
13. The Dadaists – the “monteurs” (mechanics) – used scissors and glue rather than paintbrushes and paints to express their views of modern life through images presented by the media. A variation on the collage technique, photomontage utilized actual or reproductions of real photographs printed in the press. In Cologne, Max Ernst used images from the First World War to illustrate messages of the destruction of war.
14. The assemblages were three-dimensional variations of the collage – the assembly of everyday objects to produce meaningful or meaningless (relative to the war) pieces of work including war objects and trash. Objects were nailed, screwed or fastened together in different fashions. Assemblages could be seen in the round or could be hung on a wall.
15. The Dada Manifesto (in French, Le Manifeste DaDa) is a short text that was written on July 14, 1916 by Hugo Ball and read the same day at the Waag Hall in Zurich, for the first public Dada party.