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Dada and Beyond, Volume 1

Dada Discourses

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Edited by Elza Adamowicz and Eric Robertson

This collection of critical essays celebrates the subversive and challenging creativity of the Dada movement, born in pacifist Zurich in 1916 in violent reaction to the First World War. It examines the collective and individual activities that took place under the name of Dada in Zurich, Cologne, Berlin, Paris, New York and Barcelona, and explores the various creative forms employed, including text, collage, photomontage, objects, dance, performance and film. The authors suggest new ways of understanding the work of the most famous Dadaists, while also casting light on the contribution of hitherto neglected figures.
“Dada was a bomb”, declared Max Ernst in an interview in 1958. “Can you imagine anyone, almost half a century after the explosion of a bomb, trying to collect its fragments and stick them together in order to display them?” The aim of this volume is not to reconstitute the bomb, but to analyse some of its explosive effects and after-effects that continue to resonate nearly a century later. Far from attempting to reduce Dada to a homogeneous movement, or to define a unifying principle beneath and beyond the multiple directions taken by Dadaists, this collection aims to respect the diversity and heterogeneity of the movement’s collective activities as well as the specificity of its individual actors.
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Dada and Beyond, Volume 2

Dada and its Legacies

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Edited by Elza Adamowicz and Eric Robertson

International, iconoclastic, inventive, born out of the institutionalised madness of the First World War, Dada erupted in cities throughout Europe and the USA, creating shock waves that offended polite society and destabilised the cultural and political status quo. In spite of its sporadic and ephemeral character, its rich and diverse legacy is still powerfully felt nearly a century later. Following on from Dada and Beyond Volume 1: Dada Discourses, the sixteen essays in this collection provide critical examinations of Dada, placing particular emphasis on the ongoing impact of its creative output. The chapters examine its pivotal figures as well as its more peripheral protagonists, their different geographic locations, and the extraordinary diversity of their practices that included poetry, painting, printmaking, dance, performance, theatre, textiles, readymades, photomontage and cinema.
As the book’s authors reveal, Dada not only anticipates Surrealism but also foreshadows an extraordinary array of more recent tendencies including action painting, conceptual art, outsider art, performance art, environmental and land art. In its privileging of chance and automatism, its rejection of formal artistic institutions, its subversive exploitation of mass media and its constant self-reconstitution and self-redefinition, Dada deserves to be seen as a cultural phenomenon that is still powerfully relevant in the twenty-first century.