17-War-Poetry-Dada - 017_War-Poetry_Dada READINGS WAR...

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017_War-Poetry_Dada.doc READINGS: WAR POETRY AND DADA Background Various war poems Erich Maria Remarque, All Quiet on the Western Front Background: Eugen Weber, Dada Tzara, Dada Manifesto Tzara, "Lecture on Dada" Interpretations of Duchamp, The Bride Stripped Bare… GROVEART.COM DADAISM Artistic and literary movement launched in Zurich in 1916 but shared by independent groups in New York, Berlin, Paris and elsewhere. The Dadaists channelled their revulsion at World War I into an indictment of the nationalist and materialist values that had brought it about. They were united not by a common style but by a rejection of conventions in art and thought, seeking through their unorthodox techniques, performances and provocations to shock society into self-awareness. The name Dada itself was typical of the movement’s anti- rationalism. Various members of the Zurich group are credited with the invention of the name; according to one account it was selected by the insertion of a knife into a dictionary, and was retained for its multilingual, childish and nonsensical connotations. The Zurich group was formed around the poets hugo Ball , Emmy Hennings, tristan Tzara and richard Huelsenbeck , and the painters hans Arp , marcel Janco and hans Richter . The term was subsequently adopted in New York by the group that had formed around marcel Duchamp , francis Picabia , Marius de Zayas (1880–1961) and Man ray . The largest of several German groups was formed in Berlin by Huelsenbeck with john Heartfield , raoul Hausmann , hannah Höch and george Grosz . As well as important centres elsewhere (Barcelona, Cologne and Hannover), a prominent post-war Parisian group was promoted by Tzara, Picabia and andré Breton . This disintegrated acrimoniously in 1922–3, although further Dada activities continued among those unwilling to join Surrealism in 1924 1. Early History: Zurich, 1914–18. Zurich Dada’s roots lay in the pre-war international avant-garde. Kandinsky’s abstraction and theoretical writings, together with Cubism and the development of collage, liberated Dada from the dual constrictions of reality and convention. Similarly the writings of such German Expressionists as Christian Morgenstern combined with the influence of French poets, thereby allowing the Dadaists to break the direct link between words and meaning. Disgust at the war’s outbreak was immediately voiced in Zurich at Walter Serner and Konrad Milo’s Cabaret Pantagruel (from August 1914), and was reinforced by the arrival of intellectual refugees during 1915. Serner collaborated with the painter christian Schad on the periodical Sirius (1915–16), but the latter’s move to Geneva restricted their participation in the group developing around Ball and Hennings, who founded the Cabaret Voltaire (5 February 1916), establishing performance as a central Dada medium ( see also Performance art, §(iii) ). Inviting participants, they met Arp and the Dutch painters otto van Rees and Adya van Rees-Dutilh (1876–1959), and the painter, sculptor and dancer Sophie Taeuber-Arp. They were joined by the Romanians Janco and Tzara and the Germans Huelsenbeck and Richter. Other painters contributed, including
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17-War-Poetry-Dada - 017_War-Poetry_Dada READINGS WAR...

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