January 3rd – Anti-Art

WWI was the first fully mechanized war brought about by the industrialization of mass warfare. Many thought it was irrational or mad and, with Switzerland being a neutral country, many artists moved there. From there the Dadaists were born, artists seeking refuge and trying to draw attention to their art.

Dadaism quickly spread internationally and lots of publications were produced and distributed, aided by the internationalism of the movement.

Cubists attempted to take apart conventional ways of object representation by disrupting perspective. They also integrated part of the real world into the work by including things like cloth or paper, giving a 3D aspect.

Photomontage was used by the Paris Commune for propaganda in 1871 and by WWI it was a common technique employed to scare enemy troops and comfort home ones.

John Heartfelt was the most effective dada artist to employ photomontage as critical or satirical weapon against Nazi’s.

Surrealism techniques are often more interesting than the art. The artists attempt to access the unconscious mind by breaking away from what is representational.

Surrealism is described as:

“Chance encounter of an umbrella and a sowing machine on a surgeon’s table.”

Marcel Duchamp was a conceptual artist who made “readymades” by taking existing objects and claiming them to be art, thereby making him an artist. He was more interested in ideas of conceptual art than the physical artwork. This can be seen as anti-art.

Many Dadaists produced illustrative work for journals / magazines / book covers / manifestos etc using collage, montage and photo manipulation.