Dare to Dada?

– Death and Destruction –


Marcel Duchamp, L.H.O.O.Q, 1919

-Insulting the mona lisa

– Religious


– Mythological


“Dada is supposed to be humorous but tackles classical seriousness”


Dada- 1915/16-22

• Three main places: Zurich, Paris and New York
• Dada artists very diverse art practices
• An expression of disgust about WW1
• An attempt to survive destructiveness by destroying
• A pacifist reaction to the war
• CHANCE (same chance as everyone else in the war)
• Manifesto
• Shaking up the world of art (Playful, humour)

Main artists:

Marcel Duchamp, Hugo Ball, Hans Arp, Francis Picabia, Tristan Tzara, Man Ray, Hannah Hoch 

Jean/Hans Arp Untitled (Arranged according to the laws of chance) 1916-17

– giving up decisions

Man Ray, Rayograph, 1923

– high contrast

– Organic

– Geometric

– Process and images are linked

– depth due to the tonal variation

-Transparent/ Translucent/ opaque

– monochromatic

Marcel Duchamp, Fountain, 1917.

– most important

– it’s the object not the photo that’s taken

– art is a decision; he made the decision that this is art, the question is what is art?

– the idea / concept behind the work is the link to now a days

– it’s not whether you touch/ make it, it’s about the concept 


Sounds of dada:

What is dada about this? extract from Entre’Act

– formed in response to WW1

– a non-art movement

– chance

– playful

– humorous

– Ready made questions what can be art



-The unleashing of the unconscious –

Andre Masson Battle of Fishes 1926

– Analogous colour scheme

– shapes


– jagged/smooth in different parts of the image

– geometric fins

– Sand used

– warm colours

– busy/messy

– chaotic

– looks like he’s trying to remember it so he rushes the image



– Timescale –1924- mid 60s (on going)
– Context:
– Rose from the ashes of the Dada movement
– Psychoanalysis being practiced in hospitals on wounded soldiers – Breton
• Channel the unconscious as a means to unlocking the imagination
• Freud – Id, Ego and Superego (ID- inner desire, EGO- how you present yourself, Superego- Punishment moral compass; the ID and Ego is the balance needed for the conclusion in the Superego)
• Began in literature and poetry
• Methods to access the unconscious
• Manifesto – Andre Breton
• Main Artists – Max Ernst, Joan Miro, Andre Masson, Dali, Rene Magritte
Rene Magritte, This is not a pipe
– it looks like a pipe but it’s a painting
– can’t believe everything see
– it’s simply a Representation
The Reckless Sleeper
These were simply dreams he had and then painted. The first image is of a face sculpted and then painted on a clouds painting, the second is a dream and he has presented someone sleeping in a coffin shaped box with underneath a grave like stone with depictions of his imagination like the apple, candle, bird, bowler hat, many of which features in most of his paintings somewhere. The image looks like two separate images but it is one big painting combining the two dream world and the dreamer. 
Max Ernst, the entire city
– depressing
– crumbling city
– around the time Hitler got elected in 1933
Joan Miro, Maternity 1924
– head top left like a girl with her hair waving in the wind
– shape of a skirt bottom right
– breasts bottom left
– he didn’t set out to paint it
– totally unconscious
Salvador Dali, Mountain lake 1938
– cold colours
– deserted
– dreamy
– bombed
– soft, no harsh lines ( photo realist technique)
-paranoiac image- depends how you interpret it in your first unconsciousness
-fish/dish/on table?
– lack of communication (cut off telephone)- war
Un Chien Andalou By Dali and Bunuel:
Surrealist (poetic) Objects

Man Ray The gift 1921

Dali Lobster Telephone 1936

Oppenheim Fur Breakfast 1936

Surrealism Review:

• Explored the unconscious which is usually repressed
• Evoked pure imagination
• Unpremeditated (automatic)
• Composed to disturb and disquiet – nothing is as it seems
Review Questions:
• Why is chance important in Dada?
Chance is important to Dada as it allows people of all social status’ to be merged into one. It doesn’t single any group out but joins them together. This is due to the war and the way it brought people together, everyone was in the same boat no matter who or what you were because everyone had the same chance of dying or surviving.
• What was the main question Dada asks?
The main question that is asked is ‘What is art?’ 
• What does Duchamp think art is all about?
Duchamp thinks art is about the decision, that if you decide that it is art then it is and he questions ‘what is art?’ 
•What is a ready-made?
1915, Duchamp coined the term ready-made as a commonly found object that has not been selected or altered in any way. The assemblage of objects is usually considered as a ready-made object.  
Where did Breton learn about Freud and Psychoanalysis?
Breton was a French poet who founded the surrealism movement in 1924. He began an investigation of poetic images and languages and everything about them, surrealism is a movement of ideas, of artistic creation and action based explicitly on Freudian discoveries, which were used to develop an original theory of language and creativity. Breton moved to Venice in 1921 to meet Freud with Dali, this turned out disastrous. Breton, began by studying psychiatry and it was in this function that he served as a medical intern during the First World War. Breton had closely read Freud, at a time when most French schools of psychiatry totally ignored him. Having started his medical studies in autumn of 1913, Breton after the declaration of war, was sent to the neuro-psychiatric ward of Saint-Dizier in August 1916. In a ward supervised by a former assistant of Charcot, Breton read the psychiatric literature available, which included a summary of Freud’s ideas thanks to a compendium provided by Doctor Régis (Précis de Psychiatrie); Breton copied entire pages from these volumes for his friend Fraenkel.
•Name the 3 parts of the unconscious (Freud):
– Ego (preconscious)
– ID (Unconscious)
– Super ego (unconscious)
•How can we easily identify Surrealism?
The term “surrealism” means “beyond reality.” Surrealistic paintings heighten reality through creating scenes that can only be experienced in dreams. To identify a surrealistic painting, focus on the images that are presented rather than the way that it’s painted.
•By what means can we access the unconscious? 
We can access the unconscious by thought processes, memory, affect, and motivation.

Organic to geometric and the death of the subject- Mondrain and De Stiji

Mondrain- De Stiji (the style)

Tableau 2, 1922 (Guggenheim)


– geometric shapes

– Primary colours (these three things are all he wants in his work- it’s bold, basics of painting, balanced harmonious pure)

-lines don’t meet the edge of the canvas

-Horizontal and vertical lines

Mondrian and early Abstraction

Themes and concerns:

Theosophy- what we see symbolises deeper meanings underneath

abstraction can be seen as a reaction to photography

attempt to change the world and create a functional normative art- a collective art for all

No individualism or subjectivity

-Utopian – best of all possible worlds

-Utilitarian – greatest good or the greatest no. of people

poetical search for the inner meaning of the world through a variety of techniques

manifesto 1920

Mondrain early work- Horizontal and vertical planes

Evolution of trees 1908-1912



– the texture goes from the image and so does the colour

– can see progression but you wouldn’t know what it is

-becomes more abstract

– flattens down the image (compressed onto one plane)

– physicality of the leaves form and their presence

– The trees become more geometric and get rid of any association with organic curved lines of nature

Theo Van Doesburg- study of composition (the Cow)


-The first one is a more detailed painting of a cow with clear visions of a cow

– the second painting is a more spread out version of the cow

– the image looks like the perfect balance and weightlessness in the second one

‘There is no subject, more importance on the idea of it- a logical conclusion of cubism- intellectual’

Later work:

Composition of Red, Yellow, Blue 1930

-about painting

-basic elements

– they were optimistic about changing the world like through the paintings

– made/painted

– one square slightly grey

– red/blue pushes forward

– left right/ vertical balance

-black recedes

– volume pushing forward

– Europe had been devastated so he’s rebuilding balance and harmony

Broadway Boogie Woogie, 1943


– World War 2

– Manhattan/NY

– people from bauhaus moved to America whilst Europe was in war so they were evacuated

– jazz music ‘boogie woogie’ went out every night listening to jazz

– streets are like grids

– yellows like taxi’s

Rietveld, Red and blue chair 1918


3D representation of the painting of the painting with the red, yellow and black and the white wanted to get rid of decoration because of the war- clean, straight lines.

Van Doesburg, contra composition XVI 1922


– clear

-diagonal lines infer a non-relaxing mood


University Hall & Rietveld, schroder house 1924


– spirit of the times needing to relax so they made similar geometric buildings

– flat roofs

Review of Mondrain & De Stiji

– abstractions as a reaction against painting

-Theosophy- spiritual



– utilitarians

-reactions against World War 1

An Art of Revolution: Russian Constructivism

Rodchenko, Russian revolution 1925


-loads of diagonals because they’re dynamic

– visually stimulating

– attracts peoples attention

-revolutionize graphic design

– photography used for the first time


Russian Constructivism

Timescale 1913-30


– led by architects, sculptors and designers

– pre and during Russian revolution 1917

– anything of a political meaning is propaganda

Themes and concerns:

– wanted to express the aspirations of the revolutionary proletariat

– revolutionized typography and graphic design

Tatlin, monument to the third international 1919-20


– made in Iron and glass

– bottom section rotation move once a year

– idealistic because it wasn’t ever built

Counter Relief 1914-15


-synthetic cubism inspired this


-assembles that working class people use everyday

Lisitzky, Proun 19D-1922


– beats the whites with the red wedge 1919

– colours of analytical cubism


-between art, architectual drawings


Rodchenko, Photography and photomontage


Balconies 1925

– it’s russian constructivism as you are looking up at the building

– the converging lines guiding you up the building

-unexpected angle

-interesting composition

Photomontage for Majokovski’s ”pro eto” 1923


– collage

– images next to each other that you wouldn’t normally see and when put together it changes the meaning and gives lots of references- juxtaposes


Russian Revolution – 1917, the Bolshevik party came into power via a revolution. Lenin was their leader.
Communism – Society and classes in society are equal based on a marxist viewpoint.
Ideology – A set of ideas or beliefs by a group.
Agitprop – Agitation and propaganda. describes plays, film, leaflets, and other forms of art with an overtly political message.
Visual Analysis:

Hammamet with Its Mosque, 1914,
Watercolor and pencil on paper

Tunis’s bright and light city inspired Klee to create his colourful and watercolour washes. It was around the time of the art movement De Stijl.
In this image the upper half of the painting is representational with blocks and shapes to suggest geometric buildings, sky and organic flowers, while the composition of the lower half of the image suggests the use of colour and the use of contrast to express purpose, like Robert Delaunay’s. There is a juxtaposition of red and green patches in the manner of a folk textile. Klee suggests that colour, shape, and a slight suggestion of a subject are enough to powerfully re-create in the eye of the viewer the actual feeling of repose that the artist experienced in the original landscape. There is the suggestion of line flowing through the piece linking off all the buildings or garden patches within the composition, they are faint and used by the different colours.

Mondrain- Photoshop in the style of…

This is a piece done by Mondrain, as explained above…


These are my styles of his work using the use of primary colours, grid form and block shapes…


To do these photos i used these tools on photoshop…

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As these screen shots suggest I used the Grid and rulers to get sharp, straight lines and then used the line and shape tools to make the grid and make the grid form like Mondrain. I then used the colour picker and paint bucket to fill the blocks and took a final screen shot of all the layers i used. I then did the same for the piece below again using the same style except this time added a picture to make it more synthetic and using the collage technique.

Mondrain 2


These are two images I did in the style of constructivist movement:


They’re in the style of Moholy Nagy and his use of photo montages. The first one of the girl floating are my own images using geometric shapes around the portraits, making elegant striding portraits and material cubic rectangles. The second image is another one of my images used with this time circular geometric shapes. I got this from the black circles he used, small, big and medium to create an interesting composition and instead of having someone sat on the black circles i put the people inside and around and incorporated another circle design above this to make a more complex design.

Dada- Visual Analysis

Title: Untitled (Squares Arranged according to the Laws of Chance) (1917)

Artist: Jean (Hans) Arp

Untitled (Squares Arranged according to the Laws of Chance)

Dada was born from a group of avant-garde painters, poets and film makers who came to neutral switzerland before and during world war one. Jean made a series of collages based on chance. Meaning he would stand above a sheet of paper, dropping squares of contrasting colored paper on the surface of a larger sheet, then gluing the squares wherever they fell onto the page. The art could then provoke a deep inward feeling of reaction rather than an intellectual one- like fortune telling from I-Ching coins- which Arp was interested in. He began this technique when he became frustrated at his many attempts of trying to compose more formal geometric arrangements. These chance collages have come to represent dada’s aim to be ‘anti-art’. There aren’t any leading lines but more space within the image, around the geometric shapes. The texture looks smooth and the image looks like a flat plane. The image is build up with dark colours, including browns, blacks, greens, and yellows. 


De Stijl- Visual Analysis

Title: Counter Composition V (1924)

Artist: Theo van Doesburg

Counter Composition V

Around the time this was painted the first world war had ended and the second world war was about to begin and this movement ‘de stijl’ meaning ‘the style’ in dutch was a response to the terrors of world war 1; the movement was reacting against Art Deco. Art was viewing the world as a means of social and spiritual redemption. Usually Van Doesburg makes use of horizontal or vertical lines but in this piece he depicts diagonal lines; using Elementarism. Elementarism is described as “based on the neutralization of positive and negative directions by the diagonal and, as far as color is concerned, by the dissonant. Equilibrated relations are not an ultimate result.” His title infers the 45 degree angle the lines are at to the sides of the picture rather than parallel to them; giving a new relationship between composition and format of the canvas. He goes beyond the three primary colours this includes a triangle of grey, the primary colours and black and white- line and colour interact with each other within the movement and this gives one of the characteristics of de stijl. As de stijl was finding itself; paintings, furniture designs and buildings, how the works appearance looks is just as important as its function. The shapes of the piece are geometric facing diagonally, including diamonds and rectangles, with the texture looking smooth.


My Version of Cubism and Futurism



My image uses the same technique of cubism as the artist Picasso, except with a digital image cut up bigger and smaller and then layered on top of each other.

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Synthetic Cubism:


This was a collage with found objects and photos to create something in the style of synthetic cubism. My own style was based on a Piano inspired by the guitar image, i used coloured paper as part of my found objects and took some photographs of a piano and then printed them to different sizes, cut them up and placed them onto the collage to create an interesting composition of synthetic cubism. This was then scanned to a computer and placed along with my other cubism and futurism styles.

Shape Task- Picasso, Guernica 1937




Think about why Picasso has used particular shapes in the image above. Pick 3 shapes and explain why YOU think Picasso chose those shapes, what feeling or meaning do the shapes convey?

Evil eye with a blazing light bulb inside- The light bulb is cleverly used by Picasso as, in Spanish the word light bulb is ‘bombilla’ also meaning ‘bomb’ in Spanish. I think he wanted to convey the point of the bombs within the cubic shapes and styles by creating symbolic imagery rather the literal vision of a bomb going off.

Horse- Having the blazing eye shape above the horse then suggests the sufferings it’s causing beneath it. I think having the horse knelt beneath the shape infers the hurt and damage it’s doing and creates other intriguing shapes coming off of it, like the soldier beneath. The horse is the main point of the image as it grabs your attention and draws your eye into this point and therefore leads your eye around to the rest of the image that unfolds within it.

Women floating- I think Picasso wanted to convey the war, not just with the soldiers and bombs, but with the civilians in the town of Basque within this room. He used cubism to place the objects carefully together to depict the sufferings war cause. Using the women and men infer how innocent lives are lost and the hurt the suffering costs for everyone else.

I think these three shapes best explain the atmosphere of the piece rather than including the typical war scenario of bombs and soldiers in the towns, but the other hurt that goes on around like the animals and civilians placed within a room. This then could be presented to the government and shown across Europe to show the effects and try and rebel against it.

If you had to reduce yourself to a single shape, which one would you choose and why? Say why this shape best describes you. Do not think about physical appearances think about your personality. In addition, choose a number of people you know and create a shape that best represents the essence or aura of each person. Sketch these shapes and DESCRIBE IN DETAIL how and why they represent the people you have chosen.

I think the shape that best describes me is the floating woman in the painting or a square. I’m closed at first glance, watching over my surroundings, finding it hard to open up but once I get to known people I unfold and share my feelings towards each scenario.

I would describe my boyfriend in the shape of a lightning bolt as he’s fun and energetic and can get hyper. Also, being a guy typically would come across as simple minded without being emotional like a girl would so the thick, bold lightning bolt would suggest a straight, maybe confused point in which it leads to.

A friend to me represents a circle as she has a perfect balance within her life, as if mirrored both sides would be of happiness, hope and love. She is a well-rounded person and shares love and happiness to those around. However, the circle could also represent her lack of open mindedness as she is so filled with hope it could lack experience and knowledge of more sad and emotional happenings.

A typical Cubist painting depicts real people, places or objects, but not from a fixed viewpoint. Instead it will show you many parts of the subject at one time, viewed from different angles, and reconstructed into a composition of planes, forms and colours. The whole idea of space is reconfigured: the front, back and sides of the subject become interchangeable elements in the design of the work.

Cubism and Futurism

Cubism and Futurism

– from a focus on form to a need for speed! –


-Picasso, 1912- violins & grapes


• geometric

• central, face on view

• contours show the suggestion of objects 

• realistic representation of a 3D object in a 2D flat piece (one plane, squashed) 

• 4th dimension of time (unique), by moving around the object when painting & constructing the piece 

• side view also by the top of the violin on a side view around the other side of the object. 


• timescale -1907-1922

• context:

– progress had led to new ways of seeing 

– pace of life was generally faster (referring to things like trains – perspective of seeing things move slowly from afar and fast up close)

– people could experience the world from above (like the eiffel tower) 

– clear awareness that the world had changed more in the last 30 years than in the previous thousands

– cezanne 

– arts most radical break with the past


Themes and concerns:

– non western art

– freedom to distort

– paint what you know rather than what is seen (like cezanne)

– emphasize 2D nature of canvas

– reason and design

– truth in form

– wanted to give a precise image of object on a flat plane with no illusion


Analytical cubism 1910-12

-analysis – breaking objects apart into facets and putting them back together

– broke with the convention of perspective 

– doubt about sensory perception

– forms were geometrically simplified

– muted pallets (don’t want colour to distract) 

– simultaneous depiction of various aspects of reality

– Main Artists: Picasso & Braque 

Picasso – les Demoiselles d’Avigoion 1907

– more geometric for a nude painting

– non western part is the African masks on the two right people

– suggestion of depth (foreground fruit, background colour) but not much, more of a compressed image



– Braque L’Estaque 1908, houses

Georges Braque, Houses at l'Estaque, o/c, 1908 (Bern)

• cubes look like houses

• perspective goes round and back towards you so doesn’t make sense. Trees in the foreground

• painted in the south of France 

• geometric- triangle cubes


Review of analytical cubism

• main points:

– subject matter still life’s, human face and figure, landscapes are quite rare. 

– subject of a picture is identifiable but abstracted 

– emphasised 2D nature of canvas

– distrust of perception

– Superimposed several viewpoints simultaneously 

– Destroyed the subject and reconstructed it giving new conceptions of space


Synthetic cubism-

Picasso: cane chair 1912

– typography used to suggest the 2 dimensional shape

– French newspaper placed on the glass table

– cafe chair, caning material shows this is a cafe

– birds eye view (down through the glass table of the coffee, lemon, knife etc but harder to make out)

(More analytical cubism)

– synthetic image (chair cane= stuck down image onto the piece, inadvertally invented collage)

– more handmade/factory industry in a mass produce society -> including that in his work


Synthetic cubism 1912

– began to introduce real objects into pictures – invented collage

– synthetic = pulling together

– attention to other 2d works

– led to 3D collage

– less complicated & more accessible

‘’ & ‘’



Picasso- guitar 1912

– revolutionary

– everything before was from carving 


Braque- fruit bowl & glass 1912


Review of synthetic cubism

• main points:

– massive impact on sculpture & architecture 

– adding real life objects to the canvas

– invention of collage

– textural values 



– Juan Gris – still life with pipe & newspaper

– Geometric

– 2 dimensional 

– Typography

– fernand leger – the city 1919

– geometric

– chaotic

– bold colours

– Robert delauriay – the red tower 1909

-primary colours

– geometric

– moved around the Eiffel tower to create different cubic compositions

^ more tone near the end. 



– broccioni, 1911 – forces of the street

• slow shutter speed alluding


•timescale 1909-16

• context:

– planet E-stream clip

– conceived in Italy as Italy as Italian artists felt excluded from the European art discussion

– they knew of advances being made elsewhere

– they wanted an ‘orgy of destruction’

– manifesto 1909

– fascism 


Themes and concerns:

– influenced by analytic cubism so focused on simultaneity but also showed movement

-dynamic, speed, interlocking of interior and exterior worlds, energy

– all materials are of equal value

– Main Artists- Umberto Boccioni, Giacomo Balla, Gino Severini 


Boccioni- Dynamism of a soccer player 1913

Boccioni- unique forms of continuity in space 1913

Balla – dynamism of a dog on a leash 1912

Chronophotography – Frenchman Etienne – Jules Marey, a scientist


Review of Futurism

Main points:

– Dynamism

– wanted to show movement and energy

– obsessed with modern life and worshiped the machine

– the only 20th Century art movement to have right wing political tendencies

David Hockney, 1983, Christopher Isherwoof talking to Bob Holman 1983

– photographic collage

– images within an image

– still using the geometric style

Picasso, 1909-10, seated Nude

– collage of shapes

– hands suggest nude through covering up body parts

– dark piece with black outlined shapes 

– geometric

– lighter areas coming from the light source within the image

Luigi Russolo, “Dynamism of a car” 1912-13

– looks like a fast car

– suggests speed by the geometric angles 

– red, orange, yellow analogous colour scheme makes it look like the speed is so fast it’s on fire

– dark black, strong, outline of the car from the side and above 

Idris Khan, London eye 2012, bromide print on rag board

– Monochromatic black and white contrast 

– multiple layered image of the wheel where the artist has moved round to get different compositions to layer on the wheel