How artists of the 20th century used DADA to create new masterpieces?
Many DADA artists believed the bourgeois attitudes of Europeans led to the First World War and so mocked society with chaotic and illogical artworks. DADA artist Hanna Hoch used the new technique of photomontage and collage to voice her outrage at the German government in 1919. ‘Cut with the Dada Kitchen Knife through the Last Weimar Beer-Belly Cultural Epoch in Germany’, was made from media clippings and showed her opinions on the issues of gender inequality in post-war Germany, as the government was dominated by men at the time. Many of the figures are German officials, emasculated by placing their heads on female dancer’s bodies and replacing facial features with legs and arms, thus stripping them of their power. This issue is still relevant today, with the wage gap still prevalent, and the glass ceiling still affecting women in the workplace.
The DADA groups in Germany were not as ‘anti-art’ as those in Berlin and New York. Raoul Hausmann’s ‘The Spirit of Our Time’ 1920, showed a metaphorical need for change in German society. This assemblage showed a wooden mannequin head, with screws, rulers and metal sticking out from its face. The materials used were industrial, showing the abundance of discarded metal and destruction after the war; Berlin at the time was home to injured soldiers, the weak and the starving. DADA artists believed that the authorities were at fault for the war, having corrupted and broken society. This piece showed a mechanised head with a blank expression, representing the mechanical, defeated society that was post-war Germany, lost after having blindly followed their leaders into battle. This quote from Hans Arp shows the hope that the DADA movement gave artists; DADA was their own war to fight.
“While the guns rumbled in the distance, we sang, painted, made collages and wrote poems with all our might. ”