Irregular: Dada

By Jo Phillips

When thinking of irregular art movements, one that comes to mind is the Dada movement. In celebration of the re-release of the book Dada: Art and Anti-Art by Hans Richter and the new collection by Maison Dada, we wished to give you an insight into the world of Dada. Dada, also known as Dadaism, was an art movement formed in Zürich during World War One. Created as a reaction to the horrors of the war, the movement was often satirical and nonsensical in nature. The aim of the Dada movement was to destroy traditional values in art and to create new arts to replace the old.
The focus of the artists was not on creating aesthetically pleasing objects but rather on making objects that generate difficult questions about society and the purpose of art. The Dada artists were known for their use of everyday objects that they presented as art with little manipulation. These readymade objects questioned the definition of artistic creativity and the role of the artists in society. The artists themselves were anti-war, anti-bourgeois and had political affinities with the radical left. Apart from being an international movement, Dada also formed the basis of surrealism in Paris after the war.

The Art Critic 1919-20 by Raoul Hausmann 1886-1971 Raoul Hausmann
The Art Critic 1919-20
© ADAGP, Paris and DACS, London 2002

Maison Dada, a new brand of furniture design, takes inspiration from the movement to vivid ends in a project that fuses its philosophy and design. Created by French designer Thomas Dariel and his business partner, Delphine Moreau, the brand also strives to offer a new take on home accessories and lightening. Dariel is known for his personal creative style and his habit to push boundaries, to provoke and surprise. The design philosophy of Maison Dada is all about breaking traditional codes and clichés and creating a new language for each design. Tradition and innovation are combined in these designs, with French design heritage confronting Eastern cultural influences, creating original perspectives. Maison Dada’s aim is to inject a dose of Dadaism into everyday life and to create the unexpected from ordinary objects.
For more information, visit their website here.

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If you want to learn more about the subject, Dada: Art and Anti-Art is ideal for you. It explores everything about the art movement and is written by one of its founding members, the German artist Hans Richter (1888-1976). Richter was a famous painter and filmmaker and started the movement with Hugo Ball, Tristan Tzara and others while he was in Zürich from 1916-1920. Because he was a member of the first Dada group during World War One, he tells the story of it from a very unique position and includes important historical documents as well as testimonies of friends, such as Marcel Duchamp, Max Ernst and Raoul Hausmann.
The book was first published in English in 1965 and completely changed the interpretation of Dada from a literary movement to an artistic one. This new edition of the book celebrates the 100th anniversary of the movement’s birth and features a new introduction telling the story of how the book came about, including an extended commentary which identifies Richter’s sources. It will be out on the 20th October 2016 and features 188 illustrations. Read more about the book here.

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