One Eye Sees the Other Feels – Research


Dada was created as a product of the first world war. Its foundations were anti-war, anti-establishment, anti-most things. It was nonsensical and satirical in nature and largely used art, poetry and performance. Skeptical of reason in the wake of the war, dadaists turned to chance as an antidote. The random and the accidental offered a way of letting go of conscious control. “The ‘law of chance,'” Hans Arp wrote, “can be experienced only in a total surrender to the unconscious.” Using chance as a technique for making works of art also presented a critique of the traditional notion of artistic mastery and technical excellence. Artistic creation was no longer firmly in the control of the artist, but instead was instead given over to arbitrary decision making. The Dadaists also largely used collage to break down the barrier between art and everyday life. But they also abandoned the depiction of still life or identifiable subject matter in favour of abstract collages, also widening materials used within these collages, for example, Kurt Schwitters included items as transportation tickets, calendars, sweet wrappers, lace, printed pamphlets, maps, and other disposable ephemera collected in the course of the artist’s daily outings. Collaged together, they formed a chaotic visual diary of modern life. Schwitters, 1887 – 1948, born in Germany, served as a draftman in the military in 1917, first experimented with Cubist and Expressionist styles. In 1918, he made his first collages and in 1919 invented the term “Merz,” which he was to apply to all his creative activities: poetry as well as collage and constructions. His work is grouped with Dada, although he never personally joined the art collective as his lack of interest in politics set him apart from the main group. The Dada poet Tristan Tzara wrote that Schwitters was “one of those personalities whose inner structure was always Dada by nature. He would still have been Dada even if the Dada call had not been sounded.”

Something interesting which I found out about Schwitters is that his work was actually banned by the Nazi regime in 1937, and his work was labelled ‘degenerate art’, and used in the exhibition. This is something which I based my FMP around, and so have a lot of interest and knowledge in. Image below: Adolf Hitler and Adolf Ziegler in front of Kurt Schwitters’ work in the Degenerate Art



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