The Dada Movement

The origin of the name Dada is ambiguous, considered a nonsensical word. The word came out of a negative reaction to the atrocities of the First World War. It became both an art and literary movement, both based on deliberate irrationality and negation of traditional artistic values. This was an international movement, pulled together a group of artists and poets associated with the Cabaret Voltaire a nightclub used as a cabaret for artistic and political purposes in Zürich Switzerland, it was founded by Hugo Ball and Emmy Henning February 5, 1916.

The Dada movement was a very important movement. It was a reaction to World War I by artists who rejected the logic, reason, and aestheticism of the modern capitalist society they did not want to consume by “it”.

Instead, their goals were to express nonsense, irrational things out of certain defiance. Their efforts, and anti-bourgeois protest in the works through art and literature. The Dada artist felt that the war called into question every aspect of the existing society. Their aim was to destroy what was known as traditional values within art and literature. It was time to create a new way of doing art and literature; it was time to replace the old. The old ways would lock everyone into a forever wounded society where people had no future, no mind of their own. The world was too comfortable with the way things were. There was a need for something more, something new, a point needed to be made for a better future. Willing to fight for it at the risk of great loss. Dada work to make its point. However, it fizzled out by 1920. Not before it generated other movements! It spread from Zurich to other parts of Europe and New York City. Just as many mainstream artists were thinking about this movement seriously, the Dada movement dissolved around the early 1920s.

Dada had its influence regarding other avaunt-garde movements such as Expressionism, Cubism, Futurism, and Constructivism as examples. It reached into diverse areas such as performance arts and poetry, literature where it had certain humor. The response via Dada was whimsical and nonsense came into play; it was great to be absurd and paradoxical rather than reach for balance and harmony. Artist freedom was seen as the most important aspect! Dada moved into all areas of art and literature. It included photography, sculpture, painting, and collage. The reaction to it was important and sought after. It was wild! It was cool to be irrational and full of spontaneity!

I feel we need these same characteristics to fill our art today! There is a need to find humor as the best medicine in these times.

By Pejj Nunes

I live in Southern Maine. I am the owner of Anisette Studios. My website is Here you can view and purchase Shibui, sign up for my newsletters, blog, and read articles about Shibui Found Image Art. Patrons get great deals several times a year and special items at times. My site makes it easy to contact me. My primary art form is Shibui Found Image Art. Shibui begins with action art and stems from the imagination. It is like seeing something in the clouds or solving a puzzle. Its creative process has its own rules and requires what I call reverse engineering due to a lack of an understructure and purely out of the imagination. In addition to those who patron me, my target groups are those who use art therapy. I will soon be teaching live. Contact me if you would like to learn live. I use Zoom. I request that although my art, other images, and what I write is now published by me here on WordPress; I do ask you do not to use my artwork, poetry, or the information about Shibui Found Image Art without my permission. I am quite available to make such requests. I wish to share the following: The existentialist philosopher Simone de Beauvoir wrote a book called The Ethics of Ambiguity. In it, she lays out a guiding ethic in response to the philosophy of existentialism. It might be somewhat familiar to you already. She writes, “To will oneself free is also to will others free. This will is not an abstract formula. It points out to each person concrete action to be achieved.” Best wishes to all! Have good times and keep safe! Pejj

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