International in scope and diverse in artistic output, both Dada and Surrealism were artistic, literary and intellectual movements of the early 20th century that were instrumental in defining Modernism. The Dada movement, launched in 1916 in Zurich by poets and artists such as Tristan Tzara and Hans Arp, was a direct reaction to the slaughter, propaganda and inanity of World War I. Independent groups linked by common ideas sprung up soon afterwards in New York, Berlin, Paris and elsewhere. These various groups did not share a universal style, but rather were connected by their rejection of idealism, stale artistic and intellectual conventions and modern society’s unchecked embrace of ‘rationalism’ and ‘progress’. They condemned the nationalist and capitalist values that led to the cataclysm of the war and employed unorthodox techniques, performances and provocations to jolt the rest of society into self-awareness. The absurdity of Dada activities created a mirror of the absurdity in the world around them. Dada was anti-aesthetic, anti-rational and anti-idealistic. Key figures such as Marcel Duchamp disturbed the art world with his ready-mades such as Fountain (which is simply a urinal). Dada’s challenge to conventional notions of ‘high art’ radically impacted later developments in conceptual art, performance art and post-modernism among others.
The most well known work by Hausmann, Der Geist Unserer Zeit- Mechanischer Kopf (Mechanical Head [The Spirit of Our Age]), c. 1920, is the only extant assemblage. Constructed from a Hairdresser's wig-making mannequin, the work has an assortment of measuring devices attached to the head, including a ruler, pocket watch mechanism, typewriter, camera segments and a crocodile wallet. Hausmann through this piece of work has tried to revamp and argue the idea of an ideal Head. While according to Hegel and many others, the notion of head is of course of reason and is driven by the fact that everything rests within the mind and every outcome is a result of what lies within. However, the artist discards this notion and tries to pull out the reverse aspect by simply pointing out that whatever sticks to the head defines the thought process and he explains this literally by sticking on the materials to the head. It is the materiality or objectivity of the world that defines the thoughts rather than thoughts residing within the head.
for more Raoul Hausmann
Both alone and in collaboration with the most ingenious artists of the 20th century, Ernst helped pioneer the international movements of Dada and surrealism. His first great creative epiphany likely took place in 1912, when he saw a show in Cologne featuring the modernists in full splendor, including futurists, expressionists, and Pablo Picasso. This fateful exposure helped to turn Ernst away from his academic beginnings (his father was an art teacher) and led him down the cubist road and expressionist terrain beyond. His encounter with the metaphysical magic of de Chirico had yet more dramatic impact. Soon after, along with Theodore Baargeld and Hans Arp, he created a Dada section in Cologne (1919) and became the leading artist of the Dada movement, experimenting with Freudian images in a series of bold collages and paintings.
The Bride Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors, Even (La mariée mise à nu par ses célibataires, même), most often called The Large Glass (Le Grand Verre), is an artwork by Marcel Duchamp. Duchamp worked on the piece from 1915 to 1923, creating two panes of glass with materials such as lead foil, fuse wire, and dust. It combines chance procedures, plotted perspective studies, and laborious craftsmanship. Duchamp's ideas for the Glass began in 1913, and he made numerous notes and studies, as well as preliminary works for the piece. The notes reflect the creation of unique rules of physics, and myth which describes the work. He published the notes and studies as The Green Box in 1934. The notes describe that his "hilarious picture" is intended to depict the erotic encounter between the "Bride," in the upper panel, and her nine "Bachelors" gathered timidly below in an abundance of mysterious mechanical apparatus in the lower panel. The Large Glass was exhibited in 1926 at the Brooklyn Museum before it was broken during transport and carefully repaired by Duchamp. It is now part of the permanent collection at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
This painting brings together incongruous and unrelated objects: the head of a Classical Greek statue, an oversized rubber glove, a green ball, and a train shrouded in darkness, silhouetted against a bright blue sky. By subverting the logical presence of objects, de Chirico created what he termed "metaphysical" paintings, representations of what lies "beyond the physical" world. Cloaked in an atmosphere of anxiety and melancholy, de Chirico's humanoid forms, vacuous architecture, shadowy passages, and eerily elongated streets evoke the profound absurdity of a universe torn apart by World War I.
by Anurima Das
Whenever mankind was put under strict suppression and was forced to follow certain values and principles, people rebelled. The idea of order and strict guidelines or even laying down of the fixed path, is sometimes quite uncalled for and at times does not lead to any success. Moving out of the organized way and trying to bring out chaos gives birth to irrational behaviour and precisely at such times of suppression reality and rationality, the irrational seems more real and obvious. The idea of irrationality brought ahead by the Dadaists in various forms and at different parts of the world during the World War I was used against the rather 'logical and rational' Capitalist society. The Dadaists brought out their sensibilities, expressed themselves through the opposites, and took the medium of art and literature as their weapon.