Dada and the Surrealist Movements





Dada and the Surrealist Movements

Undeniably, the emergence of World War I established a human cataclysm that ravaged Western civilization and derided the hope present in the movements of modernism. The utter magnitude of the respective conflict and the massacre that took place was beyond all reason. The repulsion of the calamity destroyed the faith in science, medicine, and technology as the chosen aspects towards a peaceful and pleasant future for humankind. Every thing that was deemed as good and benevolent had been modified in order to facilitate the evil objectives of the global war. As such, a worldwide sense of belief and optimism was substituted with a significant sense of hate and fear. Because of such implications, the arts society retorted with the Dadaist arts movement. Based on the irrational contents of the canvases done by renowned artists such as Salvador Dali, one would generally assert that the artists were conceding to the notion that madness was the sole epitome of reality.

The periods between 1920s and the 1930s evidenced the exploration of the meaningless of reality among avant-garde artists. From the compositions, madness seemed to be a facet that existed underneath the facade of daily rationality (Chilvers 25). The Surrealism movements contributed numerous artworks and compositions that acknowledged the loss of pragmatism and normalcy. Such arts surveyed and made a commentary on the perceived loss of rationality. This resulted into a mass of recombined and continuous aspects of surrealism that would later function as the language ideal for rebuking and admonishing the pretense of sagacity. Dadaism was an artistic and literary movement that was conceived in Europe as a response of the catastrophe and the carnage caused by World War I. Due to such implications, a collective of artists, intellectuals, and writers established an impromptu congregation in Zurich. The objective of the meeting, which involved protesting, eventually led to the conception of the Dada movement and the dissemination of the Surrealist arts.

The Dadaist movement was a response to the rational aspects that had apparently led to the occurrence of the respective conflict in the first place. The movement attributed such causes to the ‘isms’ which were used exploited reason rather than facilitate it for a good cause. In this case, having faith in reality would only result into carnages similar to World War I. In this sense, these artists sought preference in exploring the weird and irrational. Utilizing an earlier type of Shock Art, the respective movement thrust placid obscenities, satirical humor, illustrative puns, and daily objects into society. One of the Surrealists, Marcel Duchamp, consistently carried out notable offenses by drawing a mustache on a replica of the renowned Mona Lisa (Elder 45). Despite the criticism associated with the arts initially, Surrealism became a rather popular form of art. In addition, this form of art spread from Europe towards subsequent parts of North America, specifically New York.

The Dada movement further established a rejection of the bourgeois way of life. For the artists at the time, the bourgeois had constructed a fixed meaning for art. This form of reality established by the respective class became noted as one of the reasons for the occurrence of World War I. Hence, the Dadaists were convinced that rejecting bourgeois-influenced art would facilitate their protests aimed at the rejection of reality. Hence, in order to liberate art from oppression by the respective society, the bourgeois type of art had to be discarded. In this case, the Surrealist movement was a nihilistic retort towards the deep despair that occurred over the rampant ruin and destruction that resulted from the conflict. Moreover, Surrealism was a response that emerged due to the dissatisfaction with the economic and political actualities of capitalism as well as the expulsion of conventional communal life by the implementation of the capitalist form of production (Elder 78).

The preference for the illogical was a way of disagreeing with the conceived notions of reality. The Dada movement and the outcomes that comprised the Surrealist arts saw it fit to reject pragmatism. For the artists and writers, reality itself led to the creation of nothingness. As such, the Dada movement was the sole resolution that would lead to the reconfiguration of art and literature as performance and participation with the world. The rejection of logic was facilitated by the radical disruption of the domineering aesthetic connotations that were established by realism as well as other isms such as sexism, capitalism, and nationalism (Chilvers 101). As such, the Dada manifesto focused on the integration of illogical and unreasonable art within a novel society. Furthermore, the utter demolition of art via the adoption of Surrealism was seen as the only means through which the reality constructed by the bourgeois at the time would be destroyed.

In conclusion, the Dada movement and the resulting art form of Surrealism comprised the main aesthetic response towards the notions of modernism. The occurrence of the respective movement took place as a retort towards the implications and negative effects caused by the carnage of World War I, particularly in Europe. Such repercussions inspired less hope in science, technology, and medicine, which considerably comprised reality. Furthermore, the introduction of capitalism and a rejection of conventional societal rules facilitated the rise of the Dadaists, who viewed the society at the time as mad. In this case, the Dada movement acted as a nihilistic response due to the calamities and destruction caused by World War I.

Works Cited

Chilvers, Ian. Art That Changed the World. New York: D. K. Publishing, 2013. Print.

Elder, Bruce. Dada, Surrealism, and the Cinematic Effect. Ontario: Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 2013. Print.

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