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, Dadaism
a nihilistic artistic movement of the early 20th century in W Europe and the US, founded on principles of irrationality, incongruity, and irreverence towards accepted aesthetic criteria



(from French dadaisme, from dada—hobbyhorse; figuratively, incoherent prattling as by infants), a modernistic literary and artistic trend that existed from 1916 to 1922. It originated in Zurich in 1916 (although dadaists-to-be had spoken out somewhat earlier in the United States). Its origins were among anarchist-minded intellectuals who regarded World War I as the unleashing of man’s age-old bestial instincts and reason, morality, and aesthetics as the hypocritical masking of these instincts. From this view followed the programmatic irrationalism, extreme nihilism, and demonstrative cynical anti-aestheticism of the dadaists, a kind of artistic hooliganism. Among the dadaists were the French artists M.Duchamp, F. Picabia, and H. Arp; the German artists M. Ernst and K. Schwitters; the French poet, a Rumanian by birth, T. Tzara; the German poet R. Hülsen-beck; and the Rumanian writer M.Janco. The methods of the dadaists were in essence a kind of scandalous playing of pranks—graffiti, pseudotechnical blueprints, meaningless combinations of words and sounds, and the grouping of random objects or pasting scraps of paper on a canvas (collage). In 1916–17 the dadaists published a journal in Zurich entitled Cabaret Voltaire.

After the war the group broke up, and its members went their separate ways. Tzara moved to France in 1919, where he headed the group of so-called absolute dadaists, which included A. Breton, the early L. Aragon and P. Eluard, and J. Ribemont-Dessaignes. This group published the anthology Dada and such periodicals as Litterature, Proverbe, and Cannibale. It strove for an “absolute” art, devoid of any social function. In Germany dadaist groups were formed in Berlin (1917–20), Cologne (1918–20), and Hanover (1919). Standing somewhat apart was the Berlin group of so-called political dadaists, whose escapades often took on a quality of anarchic protest against militarism and the bourgeois order. In the 1920’s in France, dadaism was absorbed by surrealism, which took over the paradoxical techniques of dadaism, while in Germany it was absorbed by expressionism. Some of the political dadaists subsequently abandoned dadaism because of its absence of any idea content and adopted the views of revolutionary proletarian art, applying the techniques of pavement drawing in satirical graphics (G. Grosz) and the technique of montage in political posters (J. Heartfield) for new purposes. The dadaist technique of combining “ready-made” objects became one of the sources of pop art in the middle of the 20th century.


Istoriia frantsuzskoi literatury, vol. 4. Moscow, 1963.
Kaptereva, T. “Dadaizm i siurrealizm.” In Modernizm. Moscow, 1969.
Hugnet, G. L’Aventure dada. Paris, 1957.
Richter, H. Dada-Kunst und Antikunst. Cologne, 1964.
References in periodicals archive ?
Fleming interprets the scene as pointing "to a need to minimize the manipulation of language so that events can be seen as clearly as possible" not as suggesting "anti-art and turning everything on its head" as Tzara and his Dadaism declared (110).
NEHA RANJAN: Her inspiration was based on Dadaism that was a western art movement started in Zurich in late 1970s.
Ting aims to incorporate "major influences from popular and traditional artistic forms" in his staging: "The evolving concept of Dadaism, contemporary pop art and culture, industrial and machine art installations, stylistic movement, techno-folkloric music combination, and circus-like elements and spectacle using kinesics (body motion), proxemics (interaction with space), and aero-dynamics (concept of flying and aerial stunts).
Besides Breton, the movement included poets such as Louis Aragon and Paul Eluard, and the Surrealists quickly widened their attention to encompass the visual arts, especially Dadaism, from which they drew much inspiration.
Further, while the discussion Lievrouw presents regarding Dadaism, SI, and NSM is interesting and certainly offers a great deal to our understanding of activist media, she does not give a cogent or compelling rationale for their selection over other theories of social movements nor does she relate histories of the use of art and media in social change.
This research project is framed historically, with McLeod and Kuenzli positioning intervention as a response to the grand tradition of politically motivated collage and appropriation art, referencing the Situationists, Dadaism, Woody Guthrie, hip hop and folk culture.
Gaga, ca-ca (toddler talk) by an obvious association reminds me of Dada and Dadaism, the cultural movement that began in Switzerland in the period 1916-22 with Hugo Ball and others involving experiments across the visual arts, literature, especially poetry, art manifestoes, art theory, theatre and graphic design.
His play, Travesties, performed by the Rep, is a mash-up of Oscar Wilde, James Joyce and Dadaism.
Gabriel's layered musings on perfume, haute couture, Dadaism, spiritualism, Andy Warhol, Esperanto, fountain pens, the color blue--all prompted by the postcards and the memories and associations they evoke--turn a relatively uncomplicated narrative trajectory into an engine of allusion.
During the 20th century the art world experienced the development of new styles and explorations such as Expressionism, Dadaism, and Surrealism.
McLuhan's dictate embodies the conceptual ground of subversive movements like Dadaism and Pop-Art.
The film has the feel of a piece of Dadaism from the 1930s, or perhaps a decade earlier.