06 June 2011

Anna Balakian on Dada

"Dada had been an acute state of protest against society, literature, and those ideologies which had contributed to the destruction and chaos of World War I. The rebels were young men, who came to Paris from all over the world, and attributed the political failures to ineffective thinking. They attacked logic, which had proved a tragic basis for action. They attacked by the same token the artist who had fled into his ivory tower and let the world crumble around him.

The Dadaists summarized their sense of futility by the word “rien.” They endured their nihilism not with tears but with a mocking smirk, a shameless disdain of the reality which embraced them and which appeared so wanting. All the exhibitionism and antisocial vindictives associated with Dadaism were motivated by this concerted protest of the moment."

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