Dadá collection

1915-1922

Geographical area: France, Germany, Netherlands, Switzerland

Related collections: Italian Futurism Collection - Russian Avant-Garde Collection

Related topics: The Typographical Renewal

Related exhibitions: The idea of ArtThe Avant-garde Applied (1890 – 1950)

At the height of World War I, in a neutral country, Switzerland, where a number of anti-war poets, artists and intellectuals had taken refuge, an art movement was begun in 1916 at the Cabaret Voltaire in Zurich, given the absurd name of Dada. If the cult of reason had ended to lead to the bloodiest of wars known until then, the work of intellectuals and artists had to veer in other directions, rebelling against artistic and literary conventions and ridiculing the bourgeois world that had generated them. The movement quickly spread and «Dada Clubs» were set up in other cities, including Berlin, Hanover, Paris and New York. The various Dadaists communicated through pamphlets, such as the one entitled Cabaret Voltaire. The primary contribution made by Dadaism to modern art was the challenging of art and poetry. By definition, there is no Dada work, there is no style whereby its works may be recognised, which meant that poets and artists of different movements could take part therein. The most characteristic feature of their activity were perhaps the soirées held in cabarets or art galleries, where poetry recitals and music performances were staged in an ambiance replete with posters, manipulated objects, photomontages, sporadic statements and nonsensical words, whose intention was provocation. There are no Dadaist «works» but the legacy bequeathed includes several pamphlets, books, periodicals and manifestoes, wherein its ideas were expressed plainly. By way of the collections in the LAFUENTE ARCHIVE, we can follow this journey we are immersed in, with magazines such as Maintenant, by Arthur Cravan; Dada, by Tristan Tzara; 391 and Cannibale, by Francis Picabia; Der Dada, by Raoul Hausmann; Mécano, by Theo van Doesburg; and Merz, by Kurt Schwitters, as well as the series of books published under the banner of the «Collection Dada».