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Dadaism, the art of the absurd

We are talking about a new current that produced a break with the past and the opening to a new way of making art.

The avant-garde of the 20th century represents a revolution on several levels. The horizon opens and the possibilities for artists grow. Thus, Imagination and creativity gain ground over rational and more academic thinking. For this reason, we want to know a current that has served as the basis to achieve all these purposes: Dadaism, the art of the absurd.

In the years in which this movement developed, other avant-garde movements were also active: cubism, surrealism, fauvism, futurism, etc. All of them have their own characteristics and a defined identity that, undoubtedly, break with the classic parameters of the past to open a new door towards creation.

Historical context of Dadaism

The origin of Dadaism must be sought around 1916-1917. The German poet Hugo Ball was its founder. Tristan Tzara, another poet who will promote the ideas known as anti-art, that is, Dadaism; In fact, he will be the reference for many artists and is considered the main promoter of the movement with the manifesto published in 1918.

Since the second half of the 19th century and the first third of the 20th, the rationalist theoretical approaches of positivism established general laws. However, Dadaism will go against these principles and will try to show another artistic conception that uses humor, mockery and provocation as basic and elementary concepts.

In poetry, sculpture and painting he will have a great journey. Different facets are even mixed to achieve the same purpose: originality versus conventionality. After all, it is an attitude of rebellion due to the tragedies that occurred during the First World War and the crisis situation, which will begin a magnificent period between the wars in which things begin to be valued that, previously, they did not have. relevance.

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“Every act is a shot from a cerebral revolver.”

-Tristan Tzara-

What is Dadaist thought like?

When pointing out the characteristics of this movement, it is good to highlight that, basically, it bursts into the evolution of art with a sarcastic, striking and unique approach. Let’s look at some of its own qualities:

Dadaism must be situated not only as an artistic genre, but as a lifestyle. Artists who support Dada thought They reject tradition and classical idealismin the same way as the delimitation of doctrines and the unique approach to art.It is considered a manifesto against beauty, rules and logical laws. Instead of everything being strictly defined, why not allow freedom of thought under abstract principles? Not everything has to be a universal law, since each individual is free to create what he considers according to his way of expressing himself.Spontaneity, improvisation and the absurd They also have a place in museums. It even comes into question what beauty and aesthetic emotions are. Anyone can conceive beauty in an individual and different way. Everyone can become an artist. You simply have to have creative abilities that differ from known reality and, from there, give an explanation to the work with which you are going to express your thoughts.

Marcel Duchamp, the Dadaist par excellence

If we have to highlight a key figure in this movement, it is Marcel Duchamp. From the point of view of art, he has managed to break all established limits and makes those who are watching participate in the work. One of his most famous quotes is “It is not the painters but the spectators who make the paintings“.

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His masterpiece, The fountain (1917), signed by R. Mutt, is a sculpture that consists of a public urinal. It rises to the status of a work of art to be exhibited. He sends her to the New York Independent Artist Exhibition, while he is a member of the jury. In this way, he wanted generate uncertainty and know what the reactions of other specialists are.

The controversy triggers numerous criticisms. The provocation and mockery remain present and Thus begins the sequence of readymades dadaists. To make art you not only have to be good with your hands, you can also create through your intellect.

In this sense, the borders of art are broken and an openness begins that, without a doubt, will be a before and after in history and one of the most famous works of art.

“Art has the beautiful habit of ruining all artistic theories.”

-Marcel Duchamp-

What has Dadaism contributed to the history of art?

This question requires a lengthy answer. According to Gombrich, it has become a means to open new paths that, ultimately, were necessary, the same as other specialists such as Robert Frances consider. At the same time, We can relate the Dadaist manifesto to the collective unconscious that was studied by psychologists like Jung.

Therefore, what has been the contribution of Dadaism? Although it may not seem like it, he invited us to question many imperatives that we considered laws, reminding us that there is freedom of thought and, at the same time, that the concept of the absurd can occupy an important place within a museum.

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All cited sources were reviewed in depth by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, validity and validity. The bibliography in this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

Frances, R. (2005). Psychology of art and aesthetics. Akal. Madrid.García Martínez, JA (1977). Artistic movements of the 20th century: futurism, dadaism and surrealism. Latin American Publishing Center. Gombrich, EH (2016). The history of art. Phaidon. NY.

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