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Art Movement in Focus : What is Dadaism?

What is Dadaism

Welcome to Art Movement in Focus! In this section, we explore significant art movements in history, through a series of articles dedicated to each movement. Here’s looking at What is Dadaism.

Beginnings of Dadaism

Dadaism started in Zurich, Switzerland following the conclusion of the catastrophic First World War. Like other people, artists too were struggling to rediscover the meaning of life, following the mass killings of thousands world over. Finding no inspiration or meaning in the world around them, this group of artists came up with the concept of nonsensical art.

Dada art is characteristically made to be satirical, or to make no sense at all. Gone were the days when artists would capture the beauty of landscapes or other people. The world has stopped making sense after the war and by the Dada philosophy, art followed suit.

Legend Has It

It is widely believed that a group of artists along with Hugo Ball stuck a knife into a dictionary and named the art movement after the word it pointed at. Dada in French means hobby horse. If the account is to be believed, it is apparent that the artists associated with the movement wanted nothing to do with traditional modes of creation. Their art, much like the name of their movement, looked like an unintentional accident. And this was the beauty, the very essence of Dadaism.

“Dada is like your hopes: nothing
like your paradise: nothing
like your idols: nothing
like your heroes: nothing
like your artists: nothing
like your religions: nothing.”
– Francis Picabia


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