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Inspiration of the Day: Dada

28 Nov

The Dada Movement is a progressive artistic subgenre that demonstrated the arbitrary means at which we look at normal things (see the above from Marcel Duchamp).  It was born shortly after the end of World War I, spawned a bohemian means through which the artist created but did not defend.  It was incendiary voice in a time where all social norms from before were starting to melt away.  Its iconoclastic bent focused on the destruction of present ideology and rejected reason and logic as the sole means to existence.

Dadaism was short lived, lasting from 1917 through approximately 1925.  It is often viewed negatively and sometimes altogether ignored.  However, it was the first truly designed Avant-Garde movement, that developed into the later surrealist, pop-art, and social realist movements in other countries.  Its challenges, though immature and often a bit foolish at times, offered whimsy in the face of stunning and haunting destruction. I have referred to the “Cette n’est pas une pipe” painting from the early surrealist movement (Warhol’s famous Monroe and Campbell Soup prints too) are derived from Dadaism.

In the end, Dadaism was creation for creation’s sake, even though it was anti-art.  It stretched however the cultural imagination in time at which this had been nearly and ultimately destroyed by war.  Images typically change slowly; the War caused them to explode rapidly.  Even in Eliot, Christ was a hypocrite teacher.  In Yeats, the best of all (nobles) were indifferent and the worst of all (dissidents without cause) were filled with virulent and violent tendencies.  Dada provided a visual means through which to understand this change. A toilet was not just a toilet; a pipe was more than a pipe; and Dali began melting clocks and creating stilted legged elephants.

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