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If Dadaists willingly admitted the influence of authors like Nietzsche and Stirner, it was to better refute all that was rigid and denounce any belief in general ideas that left no place for play. To drive out such commonly shared generalities has, for a corollary, the need to defend what is different and exceptional. Dada is also situated in the continuum of Symbolist and post-Symbolist philosophers and writers, such as Jules de Gaultier, Rémy de Gourmont, Marcel Schwob and Alfred Jarry, whose aim was individualism.

Marcel Duchamp BondWhat to think of a society in which the codes, values and words (the 'words of the tribe') led ultimately to the trenches, to the horrendous battlefields, to the front lines, to death, to the great brainwash? What to make of a society that mechanically drove its citizens under the wheels of the bloodiest of wars? To find meaning in life again, the need to invent new rules was deeply felt. Dada was that epiphany. Like the Futurists before them, the Dadaists said all that which was sacred and preserved and embedded in libraries and museums must be surpassed. Dadaists saw they should not abandon art to imitation, (which is a stage in the learning process), so as not to condemn it to repetition, monotony and disaster. Art must surprise, and to do so, it must continuously exile itself to the invention of new forms.

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Marc Décimo, 'Game', translated from the French text, published in the catalogue Dada (Editions du Centre Pompidou : Paris 2005) . The translation was part of the Press Pack, published by MNAM Centre Pompidou 2005, p. 68-70 [Courtesy MNAM Centre Pompidou].

Obligations pour la roulette de Monte Carlo, 1924 [= Monte Carlo Bond]. Photo-collage on colored lithograph (31.1 x 19.7 cm) [collection The Museum of Modern Art, New York NY].


Faites vos jeux! Kunst und Spiel seit Dada ; 10. Juni-23. Oktober 2005 Kunstmuseum Liechtenstein, Vaduz [...] / Nike Bätzner (Hatje Cantz Verlag : Ostfildern 2005).


banner: (detail) Raoul Hausmann, 'Mechanischer Kopf' (Der Geist unserer Zeit), 1920 [Collection Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris].