By Elizabeth Benjamin
Offering new serious methods to Dada as integral a part of the Avant-Garde, Dada and Existentialism: the Authenticity of Ambiguity reassesses the circulate as a kind of (proto-) Existentialist philosophy. Dada is frequently disregarded as an anti-art stream with a in simple terms harmful theoretical impetus. French Existentialism is usually condemned for its perceived quietist implications. even if, nearer research finds a preoccupation with philosophy within the former and with paintings within the latter. in addition, neither used to be nonsensical or meaningless; either display a wealthy individualist ethics geared toward the amelioration of the person and society.
The first significant comparative learn of Dada and Existentialism, this article contributes new views on Dada as circulate, historic legacy, and box of analysis. Analysing Dada works via Existentialist literature around the subject matters of selection, alienation, accountability, freedom and fact, the textual content posits that Dada and Existentialism either recommend the construction of a self that goals for authenticity via ambiguity.
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Extra info for Dada and Existentialism: The Authenticity of Ambiguity
It is precisely this complex relationship between the individual and the group that makes Taeuber’s role in the events of Zurich Dada so important and instructive. Through masked movement and dance Taeuber provided ideal opportunities for freedom of individual and group expression, precisely because of the ambiguity raised not only of identity, but of truth and deception. 16). Tzara’s words map a number of features that we might say are classically Dada, including madness, spontaneity, and playfulness.
Nell Andrew writes of the contrast between the stiff arms and head with the 40 Dada and Existentialism softer, pliable material coverings of the body (2014, p. 13). We might again liken this contrast to the vulnerable wartime body, or the awkward juxtaposition of the organic and the mechanical in prostheses. The bodily wrappings give the impression of a collage of rags, and in this photo the legs, in contrast with the stark scraps of costume, are left in the dark, their invisibility lending itself to an impression that the dancer is a floating character, much like Taeuber’s own puppets.
Höch’s dolls are furthermore not controlled by strings, demanding either less interaction (moving the doll as a whole instead of a sum of its parts), or greater interaction (physically handling the limbs instead of tugging on strings) on the part of the user, a contrast also present between Taeuber’s and Hausmann’s heads. This differing involvement, in combination with Höch’s choice of beads as a decorative material, initially suggests greater similitude with Taeuber’s Dada-Köpfe, yet the beads go beyond adornment in Höch’s case.