Le dadaisme

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Dada died in 1924 with the surrealism’s manifesto. But in fact, even if this movement did not last for a long period and even if dada’s investigators had no credibility (their contemporary artists regarded those as agitator without future) Dada is one of the most important movements because it had inspired and impacted the history of art of the 20th century. Artists use humor, derision andprovocation to denounce some points, they still want to desacralized art and keep criticizing its commercialization. Each of these points comes from Dada. All the most innovated or protested movements owed something to Dada.

But how and in what way does Dada’s spirit keeps influencing current art?

Indeed social, politic and artistic demands are still alive in some current artisticmovements. In addition to the will to change art, to change its preconceived rules, notably with provocation is more than ever alive and well. To answer this question in this research presentation, I will focus my studies on Maurizio Cattelan. Like Dadaists, he loves provocations, for example he loves bringing his double for his interviews. Provocation or humor? These two concepts belong to Dada.

Mainartist of modern art, Maurizio Cattelan was born in Italy in 1960. He lives and works in New York, and he is the most collected artist of the moment, he lives thanks to his artwork. This is paradoxical because he is following the Dadaism creed because he critics art and its commercialization. In 1994, in order to critic this art’s aspect, he forced Emmanuel Perrotin, the famous art gallery’s ownerto wear a rabbit penis costume for five weeks. This performance was called “Errotin the real Rabbit”.

The grotesque nature of this reminds us of some Dadaism representations, especially happening during some dada’s parties. It was during those parties that Dadaist artist realized how the greatness of spontaneity and the use of “aggressions critinisante” can allow and create a huge exchangebetween artists and spectators. Yes: provocation was used by Dadaists to transmit a message, to criticize a special point as the argument advanced by Henri Béhar and Catherine Dufour in their boor “Dada circuit Total”. Using that way, Cattelan tried to show merchandiser’s reality in order to critic of art’s commercialization. According to Béhar and Dufour, Dadaists wanted to deconsecrate Art, andthey claimed that Art is not only for bourgeois. We can draw a parallel between this point and the grotesque of Perrotin’s costume.

One of the most important aspects of dada’s artist were provocation. In fact, in order to shock people and to share their ideas, they used “offensive” artwork (Dada Circuit Total). To give some examples, it is interesting to quote some artists as Max Ernst, JohnHeartfield, or Otto Dix.
I will prove this point by analyzing Otto Dix’s artwork “Prager Straße”. This painting criticizes German society after the first war. We can see two mutilated men, one seems to be rich, and had success his social integration, whereas the other one has to beg for money to live. The man in the first ground is sitting on a plank where we can see the inscription: “Juden Raus”.The man can be compare to a lot of old soldiers who were sensitive to the propaganda ultra nationalist responsible of the huge development of the Nazism after 1918. Otto Dix represented also two minor victims of the war: a little girl, we can wonder if she is orphan, and a lonely woman in the right, who is she? War’s widow? In the background we can see dismembered puppets (which remind thedislocated men) and prostitution’s objects (maybe in reference to the moral problems). This painting represented at the same time the misery after the war, contempt, and moral decline. This is a huge critic of his environment.

Cattelan also criticizes his environment by using different ways according to Francisco Manacorda, Author of the book “Maurizio Cattelan”. He reproduced perfectly Carsten...