DADA & Modernist Magazines
1922 marks the year of Dada's short but active period in Zagreb, led by poet Dragan Aleksic. Aleksic became a supporter of Dada, which means "yes, yes" in Serbo-Croatian, as a student in Prague, and after his return to Zagreb in the spring of 1921, he contributed articles about Dada to the new journal Zenit (1921-1926). Edited by Ljubomir Micic and Branko Poljanski, Zenit (zenith) was the main organ of the Zenitist movement in Croatia. Differences between Aleksic and Micic about Dada became increasingly divisive, and in May 1922 Aleksic stopped contributing to Zenit. The following month he published his own journal, Dada-Tank, with the support of a group of artists and writers in Zagreb. Aleksic included only two illustrations in Dada-Tank, both abstracted linocuts by the young Russian painter and graphic artist Mihailo S. Petrov. A poet, he was primarily interested in Dada writing, and he solicited contributions to Dada-Tank from recognized Western European Dadaists. In an enthusiastic letter to founding Dadaist Tristan Tzara from May 14, 1922, he identifies himself as part of the Dada movement in Zagreb and announces Dada-Tank, which he describes as an international Dada review. After reporting to Tzara about Dada activity in Prague and his contributions to Zenit, he asks him for Dada reviews and books. Dada-Tank features Tzara's poem 'Zanzibar', Kurt Schwitters's as yet unpublished 'Poem No. 48' (c. 1920), and an excerpt from Huelsenbeck's introduction of Dada Almanach (Berlin 1920), all of which Aleksic translated in Serbo-Croatian. Dada-Tank also features poems by Aleksic, which he published in German, presumably so that foreign readers could read his poetry. His verse mimics the nonsensical tone and disregard for grammar and syntax that Aleksic had found in other Dada poems. Like Dadaists before him, he inserts neologisms and English words referring to capitalism and the entertainment industry such as 'trademark' and 'ragtime' into his poems.
- In September 1922, Aleksic produced a second Dada journal, Dada Jazz, whose lively cover promotes the journal as 'Dadaistic review' in English, French, Italian and Croatian. Dada Jazz features only a few texts by Aleksic and Tzara; these include Aleksic's Dada manifesto (printed in Zenit the year before) and his essay on Archipenko, as well as a few previously published texts by Tzara, printed in the original French. Dada Jazz is best understood as a footnote to Aleksic's Dada performances the previous summer.
- Poljanski and Micic responded to Aleksic's promotion of Dada in Zagreb with the anti Dada review, Dada-Jok, published around the same time as Dada Jazz. The single issue betrays a close familiars set out parody. One could easily mistake it for a Dada journal. The articles in Dada-Jok are by Poljanski, Micic and his wife, Anuska, under the pseudonym 'Nina-Naj'. The images in particular resemble Dada works. 'Anti-Dada Zagreb' for example, is a reproduction of a painting of people gathered in Zagreb's city square by tailor and self-taught artist Petar Bauk, to which the editors added the words 'Anti-Dada' and 'Zenit'. Dada-Jok also features two Dada-like collages by Poljanski: an 'anti-dada construction' featuring the words 'Dada', 'Dada-Jok', and 'Poljanski', and another that combines randomly chosen images with the word 'dada', 'I am a Dadaist', 'Are you a Dadaist?' and 'Every shoemaker (Schuster) is a Dadaist', written in German.
- In October 1922, Aleksic abruptly declared an end to Dada until 1999. He continued to advance his unflagging campaign to bring Dada to Zagreb, however. He went by the name 'Dada' and maintained an archive of Dada activity (now lost) until his death in 1958. Although short-lived, Dada in Zagreb had a lasting influence on art and literature there, and Dada-Tank, Dada Jazz, and Dada-Jok reflect the understood centrality of the journal medium to the Dada dialogue that continued to develop in the early 1920s.
- TEXT CREDITS
Emily Hage, 'Dada-Tank, Dada Jazz and Dada-Jok', in The Dada Reader: A Critical Anthology / edirted by Dawn Ades (Tate Publishing : London 2009) 274.
N° 1 (May 1922). Only one issue published
Edited by Virgil Poljanski and Ljubomir Micic; published in Zagreb
35 × 25.2 cm
[printed] Zenit, Svetokrat, Dada-Jok, Dada-Tank, Dada Jazz 1921-1926 (Ranko Horetzky : Zagreb 2008).
[anthology] Emily Hage, 'Dada-Tank, Dada Jazz, Dada-Jok', in The Dada Reader. A Critical Anthology / edited by Dawn Ades (Tate Publishing : London 2006) 274-284.
- Emily Hage
'Dada-Tank, Dada Jazz and Dada-Jok', in The Dada Reader. A Critical Anthology / edited by Dawn Ades (Tate Publishing : London 2006) 274-284.
- Emily Hage
New York and European Dada Art Journals, 1916-1926: International Venues of Exchange (S.l. : s.n. 2005) 350-352.
- Laurel Seely and Tyrus Miller
'Avant-garde journals in the Yugoslav crucible: Zenit (Zagreb 1921-3; Belgrade 1924-6); Zagreb: Dada-Jok (1922), Dada-Tank (1922), Dada Jazz (1922); Novi Sad: Út (1922-5); Ljubljana: Svetokret (1921), Rdeci pilot (1922), Tank (1927)', in The Oxford Critical and Cultural History of Modernist Magazines. Volume III: Europe 1880 - 1940 / edited by Peter Brooker, Sascha Bru, Andrew Thacker, and Christian Weikop (Oxford University Press : Oxford etc. 2013) 1099-1127.