• Switzerland's news in English
 
app_header_v3
Zurich gallery revives lost Dada exhibit
Tristan Tzara (above) saw the failure of Dadaglobe as one of his greatest regrets.

Zurich gallery revives lost Dada exhibit

AFP · 14 Feb 2016, 14:52

Published: 14 Feb 2016 14:52 GMT+01:00

Dadaism was born in 1916 at the famous Cabaret Voltaire in Zurich's old town, where artists produced work partly inspired by the devastation of World War I that sought to challenge preexisting notions of what constituted art.
   
One of its founders, Romanian-born Tristan Tzara, tried in 1921 to release a collection with some 200 contributions from some of Dadaism's main contributors -- a project named "Dadaglobe", which ultimately faltered due to financing problems.
   
Thanks to artistic sleuthing, much of the collection has been reassembled and put on display Zurich's Kunsthaus museum.
   
Entitled "Dadaglobe Reconstructed", it includes some 160 works by 40 artists from across the world, including noted  figures like Max Ernst, Hans Arp and Sophie Taeubeur.  All had sent contributions to Tzara for the project.
   
The exhibit opened this month and will be on display in Zurich until May 1, before it shifts to the  Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) in New York.
 
Tzara's Dadaglobe project was conceived as an anthology of the movement, which ran through the mid-1920s and used humour, wit and irony to highlight what some artists described as the social and cultural decay in Europe.
   
Dadaglobe gradually fell into oblivion, aside from passing interest from a few scholars.
   
In 2005, however, Adrian Sudhalter, an art historian and curator at MOMA, noticed a series of numerical markings on various pieces while participating in a Dada retrospective at the Beaubourg Museum in Paris.
   
"When we inspected the art work I started to see these numbers at the back of the works and asked myself, 'what are these numbers'," she told AFP.
   
Her curiosity piqued, Sudhalter headed to the archives of the Jacques Doucet library in Paris, which has a significant collection of Dada and surrealist material.
   
There she discovered a list which corresponded to the numbers and sequences she found on the pieces at the retrospective.
 
Baffled at first, she little by little realised the list was a complete inventory of Tzara's intended Dadaglobe. She would be able to assemble "the pieces of the puzzle".
   
"It was really artistic detective work," Sudhalter told AFP. "Because of this list and because of these numbers I realised it would be possible to put (Dadaglobe) back together again."
 
Tzara, who died in 1963, commissioned pieces from the leading lights of Dadaism, many of whom sought to poke fun or mock outright a world thrust into upheaval by World War I.
   
Story continues below…
The "Reconstructed" exhibit features work by German painter and sculptor Max Ernst, who fought in WWI and was reportedly traumatised by the experience, producing art that was partly concerned with the subject of mental illness.
   
Also featured are Hans Arp and Sophie Taeubeur, who were married and worked together in Zurich, turning out what were then groundbreaking multi-media projects.
   
Taeubeur, born in Davos, is pictured on Switzerland's 50-franc note.
   
Sudhalter told AFP that in her research for the project she consulted with Michel Sanouillet, one of France's most renowned experts of Dadaism, who spoke with Tzara a few years before his death.
   
"Tzara told (Sanouillet) that Dadaglobe was one of his biggest regrets," Sudhalter said.

For more news from Switzerland, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
IOC reports more doping failures pre-Rio
President Thomas Bach said the retesting showed the IOC's commitment to fight doping. Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP

The International Olympic Committee reports 45 new doping failures from Beijing 2008 and London 2012.

Swiss pilots: don’t hunt Pokémon from the air
Pokemon hunting has become a world-wide craze. Photo: Tiziana Fabi/AFP

The Swiss civil aviation office hears reports of people playing the popular new game from helicopters.

‘Nelson’ the black swan found dead in Montreux
File photo: Noel Reynolds

The non-native swan caused a media storm earlier this month.

Zurich school threatened over links to Erdogan opponent
File photo: Aris Messini/AFP

School targeted over claims it is associated with Fethullah Gulen.

Violent storms hit Switzerland as planet heats up (again)
File photo: Benjamin Benson

Globally, June 2016 was the hottest month on record.

Swiss sports court upholds ban on Russian athletes
Russia's Yelena Isinbayeva (centre) is among the athletes affected. Photo: Kirill Kudryavtsev/Wang Zhao/Greg Baker/AFP

The decision by Lausanne's Court of Arbitration for Sport is a "funeral for athletics" said one Russian athlete.

Swiss Post moves to accept debit cards – sometimes
Photo: Swiss Post

By December customers will be able to pay for products (but not their bills) by debit card.

Study: a fifth of Swiss spy on neighbours
22 percent admit to watching their neighbours. File photo: Chase Elliott Clark

And 40 percent of Swiss feel watched in their homes.

Spectacular Valais ‘bisse’ to feature on new banknote
The bisse d'Ayent. Photo: Commune of Ayent/ayent.ch

The canton's historic irrigation channels will take pride of place on the new 100 franc note.

Swiss rider quits Tour to focus on Olympics
Fabian Cancellara wants to focus on the Olympics. Photo: Jeff Pachoud/AFP

Fabian Cancellara has just ended his last ever Tour de France.

Sponsored Article
Avoid hidden fees when sending money overseas
Photo: Grand Tours Project
Features
Why you should get on your bike in Switzerland
Photo: The Local
Society
Swiss village tells landlords: don’t rent homes to refugees
Photo: Rolf Krahl/Christophe G
International
Survey: world willing to pay more for ‘Swissness’
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
Photo: The Local
International
Chaos in Como after Swiss send back refugees
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Photo: AFP/The Local
Lifestyle
Nine top celebrity hotspots in Switzerland
Photo: Graubunden police
National
World-class Swiss climber Norbert Joos dies on ‘home mountain’
Photo: Kathleen Waters
Society
Italian ‘ignored’ by Swiss schools in language wars
Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
Photo: Whitepod
Features
The quirkiest places to stay in Switzerland
Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
International
Migrant busted trying to sneak into Switzerland in a suitcase
Photo: Jonathan Kos-Read
National
Basel suffers wettest six months for 150 years
Photo: Georges Gobet/AFP
Technology
Why Swiss science could suffer badly from Brexit fallout
Sponsored Article
Avoid hidden fees when sending money overseas
Photo: Robert Valencia
International
Swiss couple in Nicaragua told to give back adopted daughter
Photo: Zurich cantonal police
National
Police hunt prisoner on the run in Zurich murder case
Photo: Christoph G
Politics
Switzerland sets out law on expelling foreign criminals
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Photo: Bernacqua
Lifestyle
Drone shocks nudists at Swiss waterpark
Photo: Basel Justice and Security Dept
Lifestyle
New signs lay down law and order for Basel prostitutes
Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
Photo: Daniel Orth
Education
Muslim school kids denied passport for refusing swimming lessons
Photo: Emmanuel Dunand/AFP
Politics
Swiss-EU talks ‘must’ resume this summer, says President
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
File photo: Kochtopf
National
Anger as Swiss council plans non-pork school lunches
File photo: Jen/Flickr
Society
Geneva could get 'café fellatio' by end of year
Features
How Switzerland's scenery inspired some of the world's greatest authors
4,633
jobs available