Zurich Dada The Aesthetics Of Exile Analysis

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T.J. Demos’s text “Zurich Dada: The Aesthetics of Exile” deals with the beginning of the Dada movement in relation to the performances of Michael Ball and Tristan Tzara, as well as the art of Jean Arp and Sophie Taeurber, and the aesthetics of their work in regards their war induced exile from their home lands. In the Cabaret Voltaire in Zurich, Dada began, young artists and writers seeking refuge from World War I had fled to Switzerland, neutral territory, where they met people from all over Europe experiencing cultural displacement, it was at that point that Dada was born, so that some sort of universality might be achieved to give them a home. I will make comparisons to the work of Berlin dadaist Hannah Hoch, renowned for her
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She is best known for being a pioneer photomontages, which manipulate photographic images to create works similar to that of a collage, but by manipulating photography’s function to document and communicate. Despite Dada being a reaction to World War I, when it reached Berlin in 1917 Kleiner writes that it took on an activist political edge in response to the social, political and economical turmoil experienced in Berlin at the end of, and after, World War I. The Berlin dadaists were particularly interested in the technique, developed by the cubists, collage, which became hugely central to Hoch’s work. The fact that Hoch works within the Dada movement but largely uses photomontages to do this is significant because as Hemus is noted for writing, it has been easily forgotten or dismissed in the past, and in the history of art, that there were female Dada artists, in what was considered “a men’s club”, and that they worked outside the mediums of writing and performance as well as within it. One particularly interesting works of Hoch’s is “Cut with the kitchen knife Dada through the Last Weimar Beer Belly cultural Epoch of Germany” (FIG 1), which is a photomontage. In this particular work it is …show more content…
It’s clear their intention was to create a balance between World War I and an ideal world, a heaven as such. To achieve this Arp used a combination of seemingly random acts as well as using aspects of human rationality, primarily the scientific grid which, when combined, enunciate the anthropocentrism which was underlying World War I, which was purely human. This articulation emphasised how human’s are not in fact the most important species on the planet and the Dada ideal of a united race in harmony is emphasised through this work as the ideal path for humanity. This can further be supported by the common style and articulation of these Dada ideals in Hoch’s work “Meine Haussprüche (Proverbs to Live By)”(FIG 2) another photomontage. This was one of Hoch’s defining works of 1922 as it signifies the direction she was to move in when the Berlin dadaists split from one another, it shows a particular affinity for Arp’s work. Otto puts forward Hermanns argument behind the reason for Hoch’s style, which shares similar reasoning to Arp’s. Hermann argues that Hoch’s work is jarring, rebellious and unconventional due to the upheaval she experienced throughout her life, in part a result of World War I, and that as a result of the the leitmotif her work is fuelled by the determination to break down the stricture of society so that it could introduce change and encourage,

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