In the end it became nothing but an act of sacrilege." Dada was born out of negative reaction to the horrors of the First World War.
This international movement was begun by a group of artists and poets associated with the Cabaret Voltaire in Zürich.
Dada rejected reason and logic, prizing nonsense, irrationality and intuition.
The origin of the name Dada is unclear; some believe that it is a nonsensical word.
Others maintain that it originates from the Romanian artists Tristan Tzara's and Marcel Janco's frequent use of the words "da, da," meaning "yes, yes" in the Romanian language.
In the years prior to the First World War similar art had already risen in Bucharest and other Eastern European cities; it is likely that Dada's catalyst was the arrival in Zürich of artists like Tzara and Janco.
Having left Germany and Romania during the Great War, the artists found themselves in Switzerland, a country recognized for its neutrality.
Inside this space of political neutrality they decided to use abstraction to fight against the social, political, and cultural ideas of that time.
The dadaists believed those ideas to be a byproduct of bourgeois society, a society so apathetic it would rather fight a war against itself than challenge the status quo. At the Cabaret Voltaire we began by shocking common sense, public opinion, education, institutions, museums, good taste, in short, the whole prevailing order." on July 14, 1916, Ball recited the first manifesto.
Janco recalled, "We had lost confidence in our culture. In 1917, Tzara wrote a second Dada manifesto considered one of the most important Dada writings, which was published in 1918. A single issue of the magazine Cabaret Voltaire was the first publication to come out of the movement.
Developed in reaction to World War I, the Dada movement consisted of artists who rejected ideas of logic, reason, and aestheticism dominant in modern capitalist society, instead expressing nonsense, irrationality, and anti-bourgeois protest in their works.
Cubism and the development of collage and abstract art would inform the movement's detachment from the constraints of reality and convention.
The work of French poets, Italian Futurists and the German Expressionists would influence Dada's rejection of the tight correlation between words and meaning.
The Dada movement's principles were first collected in Hugo Ball's Dada Manifesto in 1916.
The Dadaist movement included public gatherings, demonstrations, and publication of art/literary journals; passionate coverage of art, politics, and culture were topics often discussed in a variety of media.
Where art was concerned with traditional aesthetics, Dada ignored aesthetics.
If art was to appeal to sensibilities, Dada was intended to offend.
As Hugo Ball expressed it, "For us, art is not an end in itself ...
but it is an opportunity for the true perception and criticism of the times we live in." A reviewer from the American Art News stated at the time that "Dada philosophy is the sickest, most paralyzing and most destructive thing that has ever originated from the brain of man." Art historians have described Dada as being, in large part, a "reaction to what many of these artists saw as nothing more than an insane spectacle of collective homicide." Years later, Dada artists described the movement as "a phenomenon bursting forth in the midst of the postwar economic and moral crisis, a savior, a monster, which would lay waste to everything in its path...
[It was] a systematic work of destruction and demoralization...
Avant-garde circles outside France knew of pre-war Parisian developments.
They had seen (or participated in) Cubist exhibitions held at Galeries Dalmau, Barcelona (1912), Galerie Der Sturm in Berlin (1912), the Armory Show in New York (1913), SVU Mánes in Prague (1914), several Jack of Diamonds exhibitions in Moscow and at De Moderne Kunstkring, Amsterdam (between 19).
Futurism developed in response to the work of various artists. Many Dadaists believed that the 'reason' and 'logic' of bourgeois capitalist society had led people into war.
They expressed their rejection of that ideology in artistic expression that appeared to reject logic and embrace chaos and irrationality.
Dada represented the opposite of everything which art stood for.
Another theory says that the name "Dada" came during a meeting of the group when a paper knife stuck into a French–German dictionary happened to point to 'dada', a French word for 'hobbyhorse'.
The movement primarily involved visual arts, literature, poetry, art manifestos, art theory, theatre, and graphic design, and concentrated its anti-war politics through a rejection of the prevailing standards in art through anti-art cultural works.
In 1916, Hugo Ball, Emmy Hennings, Tristan Tzara, Jean Arp, Marcel Janco, Richard Huelsenbeck, Sophie Taeuber, and Hans Richter, along with others, discussed art and put on performances in the Cabaret Voltaire expressing their disgust with the war and the interests that inspired it.
Some sources state that Dada coalesced on October 6 at the Cabaret Voltaire.
Other sources state that Dada did not originate fully in a Zürich literary salon but grew out of an already vibrant artistic tradition in Eastern Europe, particularly Romania, that transposed to Switzerland when a group of Jewish modernist artists (Tzara, Janco, Arthur Segal, and others) settled in Zürich.
Key figures in the movement included Hugo Ball, Marcel Duchamp, Emmy Hennings, Hans Arp, Raoul Hausmann, Hannah Höch, Johannes Baader, Tristan Tzara, Francis Picabia, Richard Huelsenbeck, George Grosz, John Heartfield, Marcel Duchamp, Man Ray, Beatrice Wood, Kurt Schwitters, Hans Richter, and Max Ernst, among others.
The movement influenced later styles like the avant-garde and downtown music movements, and groups including surrealism, Nouveau Réalisme, pop art and Fluxus.
Francis Picabia, (left) Le saint des saints c'est de moi qu'il s'agit dans ce portrait, 1 July 1915; (center) Portrait d'une jeune fille americaine dans l'état de nudité, 5 July 1915: (right) J'ai vu et c'est de toi qu'il s'agit, De Zayas! Je suis venu sur les rivages du Pont-Euxin, New York, 1915 Dada was an informal international movement, with participants in Europe and North America.
The beginnings of Dada correspond to the outbreak of World War I.
For many participants, the movement was a protest against the bourgeois nationalist and colonialist interests, which many Dadaists believed were the root cause of the war, and against the cultural and intellectual conformity—in art and more broadly in society—that corresponded to the war.