Back to the roots of Dada
The word ‘dada’ originates from the French word ‘dada’ which means ‘hobby horse’ which is a child’s nonsense word.
It was coined by Romanian poet Tristan Tzara in 1916 (the leader of the Dada movement) to describe their anti-art movement. He chose this word because of its resemblance to meaningless babble.
Freedom. DADA DADA DADA, the howl of clashing colours, the intertwining of all contradictions, grotesqueries, trivialities. LIFE.
The message they wanted to bring across is this:
Dada indicated that the European culture has lost all meaning. They wanted to make it clear to the public that all the established values, moral or aesthetic has been rendered (made) meaningless by the catastrophe of the great war.
Through their anti-art they mocked the culture.
Dada was born from what it hated.
Two interesting figures from the movement:
Marcel Duchamp was a French painter that originally painted according to the Cubism theme, but the mechanised mass killing of the First World War drove him to despair and his work became more and more dadaist. His best known work is a print of Mona Lisa upon which he drew a moustache. It wasn’t a personal attack on the painting of ‘Mona Lisa’ but a way to shock people and make them realize that the values and aesthetics behind the ‘Mona Lisa’ is nonsense.
Hans Arp created a new kind of collage tearing (instead of cutting) coloured pieces of paper and arranging it “according to the laws of chance”.
He disliked the word “abstraction” which implied discipline and conscious purpose.
Here is a fun way to finish this post:
Ever wonder why the short version of father is dada and not fafa?