Last week we touched on what Dada is and I invited you to create your own Dadaist poetry and exchange it with me.
This week, I’d like to expand a little on Dada, sharing a bit about two key women in the Dadaist movement.
Before I do, I’d like to share a piece of Dada mail I received this week. Jude Weirmeir is a very active mail artist whose prolific work is a delight to behold. It is quirky, whimsical, musical and highly entertaining. The things I’ve received from San Diego, California in his name are some of the most treasured pieces in my archives. This one is no exception. It is a celebration of 100 years of Dada.
It must be said that I swooned over the Dada stamps on the back side of this envie. And they gave me the idea for this post.
One of Jude’s rubber stamps depicts “Emmy Hennings, 1st Dada Donor.” Emmy was the wife of Hugo Ball. She gave herself over to a life of Dada from the moment they met in 1913. She had been a published poet and performer with left-wing leanings, so this transition was a natural progression. She and Hugo were founding members of the Cabaret Voltaire in Zurich, Switzerland and she was known as the “shining star of the Voltaire.” I strongly encourage you to learn more about Emmy and her poetry and performance art, though I will say that not much of her work can be found independently of Hugo Ball. They were inseparable and their work was codependent.
Another of Jude’s rubber stamps shows the silhouette of Hannah Höch. She was the most prominent female member and contributor to the Dada movement in Berlin, Germany. Her humble beginnings in fashion and textile were short-lived and she is more widely known for her social, feminist commentary via photo montage and collage. She felt strongly her position of being on the outside, looking in, the only woman in a largely male group of Dadaists who exuded their gender superiority. The chauvinist group included Raoul Hausmann, Georg Schrimpf, Johannes Baader and Hans Richter. In response, a good deal of her work addressed this. Her collage style was more harmonious and cohesive than her male counterparts, another reason they discounted her work. Her art was offensive to the Nazi regime and was included under the “degenerative art” label. She led a very quiet and secluded existence during World War II and her art thereafter did not achieve the acclaim it had before the war. In January thru March of 2014, a comprehensive collection of her work was exhibited at The Whitechapel Gallery, London. I would have loved to have been present at that exhibit! It must be said that I consider Hannah to be the Mother of Modern Collage. One needs only to view images of her work to see how she paved the way for much of what we, as modern day collage artists, do. Once again, I urge you to learn more about Hannah and her work. There are lots of excellent links to be found online, as well as images of her work. Start with the link below. You’ll be glad you did.
If you’re at all like me, you’ll have developed an insatiable curiosity for the people and concepts that we have barely touched upon. Go forth, feed that curiosity and expand your knowledge of Dada and its central characters. Celebrate the accomplishments of those who have come before.
In the tradition of Hannah Höch, I challenge you to create a Dadaist collage with a central theme of great social or economic import to you. Look to the headlines of the day, if you need inspiration. You can share it via social media using the hashtags (#)Dadawatch and (#)MyDada. If you send it to me at The Studio at Piney Creek Acres as mail art, I will send one to you in kind.
Happy Trash to you, until we meet again!