"Dada does not mean anything..."

In September Hans Arp is featured on the blog. Examining his art gives us a chance to define the movement called Dadaism.

Enak's Tears, 1917

Dada was an artistic and literary movement that began in Zürich, Switzerland. It arose as a reaction to World War I. It was influenced by other avant-garde movements - Cubism, Futurism, Constructivism and Expressionism, ranging from performance art to poetry, photography, sculpture, painting, and collage. 

Artists like Hans Arp wanted to incorporate chance into the creation of works of art. This went against all norms of traditional art production. The introduction of chance was a way for Dadaists to challenge artistic norms and to question the role of the artist in the artistic process.


     Mustache Hat, 1923     

    The Sea, 1923

Hans Arp made a series of collages based on chance, where he would stand above a sheet of paper, dropping squares of contrasting colored paper on the larger sheet's surface, and then gluing the squares wherever they fell onto the page. Apparently, this technique arose when Arp became frustrated by attempts to compose more formal geometric arrangements. Arp's chance collages have come to represent Dada's aim to be "anti-art" and their interest in accident as a way to challenge traditional art production techniques. The lack of artistic control represented in this work would also become a defining element of Surrealism.

Forest, 1916

Dada artists are known for their use of readymade objects - everyday objects that could be bought and presented as art with little manipulation by the artist. The use of the readymade forced questions about artistic creativity and the very definition of art and its purpose in society.

Other artists that created artworks in this style: Marcel Duchamp,Max Ernst, Francis Picabia.

Quote from Tristan Tzara. Sources: https://www.theartstory.org/, https://www.moma.org/