‘Before Dada was there, there was Dada’.
Dada is a movement which in many ways defies a definition. There seems to be no one unifying force (apart from there is no unifying force), no one group behind the movement, with many manifestos published. Indeed, it seems to have grown up across slightly different time frames during the early twentieth century, in different cities. It also crossed a number of different disciplines, although much of the work eventually became concentrated in the literary and visual arts spheres.
One of the elements I found interesting for my own drawings were the sound poems of Hugo Bell. In these he dissected the words into individual phonetic syllables and recombined them, thus taking meaning away from the language and creating a new sound picture. I wondered if the same could be done with one of my drawings – cutting it up and then recombining it to take away the original visual meaning and thus creating a drawing. I thought I might try this out in a future drawing. In many ways is this similar to Rauschenberg erasing a de Kooning drawing?
I have mixed reactions to the Dada images. Some are humorous, some visually engaging (some not), some the idea is intriguing whilst others it is the final image that is intriguing. As with most art, the more you look and gain an understanding the more you can engage with the image.