Etikettarkiv: Emmy Hennings

Uppslagsrik antologi om dadaismens ursprung

 
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Genesis Dada. 100 Years of Dada Zurich
Red. Arp Museum Bahnhof Rolandseck i
samarbete med Cabaret Voltaire
Scheidegger & Spiess

”If one follows the textbooks of the brand world, Dada is only questionably
a (strong) brand. But if one would  make the effort to rewrite these textbooks,
then the conclusion would have to be: strong brands are ‘dada’.”
– Jürgen Häusler

Det är i år 100 år sedan dadaismen föddes. Det  firas världen över med utställningar och publikationer, inte minst i den tyskspråkiga världen och särskilt i Zürich, där dadaismen föddes och tog form, för att sedan erövra resten av världen. Tiden och platsen för dadaismens födelse var 5 februari 1916 på Cabaret Voltaire, som höll till på Meierei café på Spiegelgasse 1 i Zürichs äldre stadsdelar.

Då hade man emellertid inte myntat begreppet Dada, vars ursprung det finns delade meningar om. Dadaismens historia verkar rent allmänt insnärjd i lager på lager av myter, och min gissning är att det är en av förklaringarna till att dadaismen räknas som en av de allra mest inflytelserika modernistiska ismerna; inflytandet verkar än idag på konstvärlden.

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Marcel Janco, Poster for the Erste Dada-Ausstellung in der Galerie Corray, 1917, Pieter Coray Collection, photo: Roberto Paltrinieri, © VG Bild-Kunst, 2016

 
Dadaismen brukar kallas för en konstnärlig och litterär rörelse, men när jag läser Genesis Dada – en riktigt uppslagsrik antologi utgiven av det schweiziska kvalitetsförlaget Scheidegger & Spiess tillsammans med Arp Museum Bahnhof Rolandseck, Remagen, tillsammans med Cabaret Voltaire i Zürich – tänker jag mig dadaismen som ett ganska löst sammanhållet nätverk, som först odlades lokalt och sedan spred sig globalt, inte minst genom rader av i regel ganska kortlivade tidskrifter. Dadaisternas attityd var unik och man hade en helt omvälvande syn material (upphittade föremål), tekniker (collage) och former (ljud- och simultandikter).

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Jean Arp, Untitled, ca. 1915/16, The Hilla von Rebay Foundation, on extended loan to the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2016

 
Dadaismen, med sin både allvarligt syftande och humoristiska anti-inställning, föddes som en reaktion på första världskrigets mekaniserade och förment rationella krigande. Det är alla överens om. Alla är också överens om att en förutsättning för att dadaismen skulle uppstå, var att en rad originella och okonventionella författare och konstnärer befann sig på samma plats vid en given tidpunkt. Det här är dem som brukar räknas som grundarna: Hugo Ball (1886–1927), Emmy Hennings (1885–1948), Hans Arp (1887–1966), Tristan Tzara (1896–1963) och Marcel Janco (1895–1984). Among the first persons to join the founding five were Richard Huelsenbeck (1892–1974) and Sophie Taeuber (1889–1943).

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Hilla von Rebay, Composition I, 1915, © Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, The Hilla Rebay Collection

 
Platsen. Arp Museum Bahnhof Rolandseck och Cabaret Voltaire har tillsammans försökt återskapa urscenen, Cabaret VoltaireSpiegelgasse 1 och Galerie Dada, som låg på Bahnhofstrasse 19. Om det förra stället var dadaismens experimentverstad, så var det senare den plats som etablerade dem på konstmarknaden. De här två platserna spelar en viktig roll i Genesis Dada men boken är organiserad efter drygt 10 ämnesområden.

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Heinrich Campendonk, Landschaft mit zwei Tieren, 1914, KOLUMBA Art Museum of the Archdiocese of Cologne, photo: Lothar Schnepf, © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn, 2016

 
Några av ämnena: mysticism, litteratur, konst, språk, Afrika, dans, masker och revolt. Varje ämnesområde behandlas i 1-3 texter och det är inte mindre än 21 skribenter, de flesta av dem experter på dada, som medverkar. Och eftersom sidantalet är ungefär 250, så innebär det att texterna är relativt korta, ibland bara 2-3 sidor.

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Jean Arp, Configuration. Portrait of Tristan Tzara, 1916, Collection des Musees d’art et d’histoire de la Ville de Geneve, photo: Bettina Jacot-Descombes, © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2016

 
Det här typen av böcker, som ges ut i samband med utställningar, brukar ofta vara ganska akademiska och skrivna på fackspråk. Det är inget konstigt, man anlitar ju experter, men texterna i Genesis Dada  är föredömligt klara, enkla och pedagogiska. Det finns undantag, som en av texterna om filosofi, men om man ser till helheten är det här en riktigt bra introduktion till dadaismen i Zürich. Dessutom är den snygg, både ut- och invändigt. De olika ämnena presenteras med väldigt välgjorda begreppskartor.

För varje texy man läser får man lite mer inblick i dadaismens mysterier, vilket naturligtvis är tanken. Man kommer närmare de olika dadaistiska författarna och konstnärer, och man får inblickar i de kreativa miljöer i Zürich där de verkade. Genesis Dada är genuint underhållande, på många olika nivåer.

Ola Wihlke

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Interview: Adrian Notz, director of Cabaret Voltaire, on Dada

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Adrian Notz, Director of Cabaret Voltaire in Zürich © Cabaret Voltaire

 
There are layers and layers of myth surrounding the dadaist movement, it might even be better to describe the founders of Dada as a network of like minded iconoclasts, that later spread the Dada attitude and philosophy to several other places, where they morphed in to new dadaisms. Dada, and its anti-art and anti-establishment attitude, spread to Berlin, Hannover, Cologne, Paris, Barcelona, even Japan, and, not least important, New York.

But the birthplace of Dada was Cabaret Voltaire on Spiegelgasse 1, in Zürich, where a lot of people from the whole of Europe had searched refuge from the Great War. The original founders of  Dada were Hugo Ball (1886–1927), Emmy Hennings (1885–1948), Hans Arp (1887–1966), Tristan Tzara (1896–1963) och Marcel Janco (1895–1984). Among the first persons to join the founding five were Richard Huelsenbeck (1892–1974) and Sophie Taeuber (1889–1943).

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Cabaret Volaire, Spiegelgasse 1, Zürich © Cabaret Voltaire

 
The five founders were held their first legendary soaré at Cabaret Voltaire 5th of February 1916. Dada is 100 years old and the centennial is celebrated all over the world. Many large institutions have Dada exhibitions on display. Several great books have been published on the subject. A lot of the attention is focused on the birthplace, Cabaret Voltaire. We had the opportunity to ask Adrian Notz a few questions, the director of Cabaret Voltaire.

When Dada is described, it’s always an emphasis on seeing the movement as a protest against the Great War. Dada is also described as an anti-movement and its orientation as rather destructive. But beyond that, what is the essence of the historical Dadaism?

The essence of the historical movement is that they found the word ”dada” to describe a zeitgeist and propose and attitude. Dada was not directly against the Great War, it was much more against a way of thinking, a definition of world that lead to this world war. Dada was against the prevailing economic fatalism, that gave all people a certain role and character. Dada tried to free mankind and looked for a league of people who would orgiastically oppose to everything useful and necessary.

Could you tell us a little bit about your background? How and why did you become especially interested in Dada and what did you do before you began working at Cabaret Voltaire?

Before I worked at Cabaret Voltaire I studied theory of art and design at the University of Arts in Zürich. I became especially interested in Dada when I began working at Cabaret Voltaire. Learning by doing, so to say. That was in 2004, twelve years ago.

Dada was born 100 years ago at Cabaret Voltaire, so it must be a really special year for Cabaret Voltaire and Zürich, you have probably prepared yourselves years in advance for the centennial, but could you first describe what’s going on at Cabaret Voltaire a regular year? Please describe the place, it’s atmosphere, activities and visitors.

Since the beginning in 2004 there has never been something like a regular year in Cabaret Voltaire. We were constantly fighting to survive, always working close to the abyss, becoming masters of the panic zone. In this sense we have been practicing the jubilee since 12 years, we managed to explore our obsessions and use them as a energy to keep working with noble gesture and delicate propriety until craziness, until unconsciousness.

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I guess, if you come to Cabaret Voltaire, it looks like a bar, where people get drunk in the nights, then it is also an event space, with a lot of different events and happenings, so we have a very mixed audience, from all parts of the city and of the world. This is quite untypical for Zürich, because there a lot of people prefer to move in certain milieus and scenes. Of course we also have a lot of weirdos coming, Dada fans, a lot of different artists with very different approaches. Everyday is different.

And there are also ordinary tourists coming to Cabaret Voltaire like pilgrims. And journalists, who ask all the same questions about what Dada is, how it was in 1916, what the space looked like, etc etc. We have a very small budget, i.e. non for communication, but even, if we would do nothing, we could not just sit here because the place itself is an attraction. Doing nothing then, is still a lot of work. We also have a shop and an exhibition space. It is a very small place, and therefor very dense with different ideas and atmospheres. Maybe the only genuinely metropolitan place in Zürich.

And what is going on at Cabaret Voltaire during the centennial? I know there are several exhibitions in Zürich and I suppose that you are involved in several projects, maybe internationally as well.

During the centennial Cabaret Voltaire is the eye of the storm. Everybody who wants to have the true Dada 100 experience goes through here. With our program we have also been the backbone or spine of the celebrations. We have held an event every night and we are still holding an event every 06:30, a celebration of each and every one of the 165 dadaists. We are only involved in a few selected projects. Like the exhibition ”Kurt Schwitters: Merz” with an architecture design by late Zaha Hadid at Galerie Gmurzynska, the place today in Zürich where Galerie Dada was in 1916.

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Or the exhibition ”Genesis Dada” in the Arp Museum Bahnhof Rolandseck where we show the first exhibitions of the Dadaist, the artoworks that were shown in Cabaret Voltaire and in Galerie Dada. We explain the genesis of Dada. In the second half of the year we are invited to several lectures and festivals in Serbia, Romania, Brazil, Spain, Italy, San Francisco and New Zealand. So this will be very different from what we have done before. Right now Manifesta 11 is using Cabaret Voltaire as their ”Guild House Voltaire” with weekly performance nights. After Manifesta we will start changing Cabaret Voltaire into a work of total art.

I’m by no means an expert on contemporary art, but my impression is that the art world since long has absorbed Dadaism, that it is now part of the DNA of art. How do you perceive the legacy of Dadaism?

Not of the whole contemporary art world. Some artists are not so aware of what they are doing or are pretending to be artists, so they can sell well. I see the legacy of Dada in those artists, who also refer to it and use Dada as a reference point. One can make like a bridge with the art of the 60s and 70s, Happening, Fluxus and even conceptual art, that relates to Dada. Today a couple of the most successful artists refer to Dada, such as Paul Mc Carthy, Marina Abramovic, Damien Hirst, Thomas Hirschhorn, Erwin Wurm and Jonathan Meese.

If you were allowed to choose three Dadaist works of art, to hang or display at your home, which ones would you choose and why?

I guess it would be one of Francis Picabias machine drawings, maybe even just the cover of one of the issues of Picabias 391 magazine. They are great!

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Hugo Ball at Cabaret Voltaire in costume by Marcel Janco © Cabaret Voltaire

 
You have written several texts about Dadaism, among them 165 Dadaistinnen. Could you mention a few dadaistinnen that you think are particularly interesting and why?

I find Sophie Teauber Arp, Emmy Hennings, Hannah Höch and Dada Baroness to be the most interesting artists amongst the Dada women. Sophie Taeuber has a great body of work and work in a lot of different disciplines. Emmy Hennings was the star of Cabaret Voltaire, she managed to keep the audience under control. And she was the one that made the Dadaists aware of that they should take one or two pictures of themselves, like Hugo Ball in the Cubist costume. Hannah Höch made fantastic and super critical collages, and Dada Baroness said: ”I am art.”

And finally, are there any books or exhibition catalogs on Dada that you would like recommend?

I would recommend Dadaglobe reconstructed, Genesis Dada, She Dada and an almost classic: Lipstick Traces by Greil Marcus.

Note to reader: In the above mentioned book by music critic Greil Marcus, he establishes links between Dada and punk.

Ola Wihlke

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