#26-27 Researching the Avant-Garde

Hundred Year-Old Dada


One hundred years after its outbreak in Zürich, is Dada still a hot up to date topic for a strictly contemporary visual arts magazine like ARTA? Is Dada still a viable combustible, radical state of mind or a still-productive artistic movement? Well, yes, da. Da, da. DaDa. Re-discussed with last year’s centenary, celebrated on the Romanian scene with an ample exhibition at Art Safari Bucharest, but celebrated in fact all around the world, dada remains a provocative and stubborn catalyst of 20th century modern art. This issue’s special section, coordinated by art historian and curator Igor Mocanu, retackles and demonstrates – with the help of renowned specialists from Romania and abroad – a few important theses. Firstly, that Dada represented a trigger for many important visual avant-garde movements, both pre- and post-war, from surrealism to Fluxus, Lettrism, Situationism, happening, Neo-Dada, and others. Then, the belonging of many avant-garde artists, Dadaists included, to the “cultural international” of European Judaism, marked by a syncretic, internalizing logic, especially in the central and eastern parts of the continent. Then there’s the fact that Dada was and remains – perhaps more than we’d like to admit – a defining ingredient for both modern and postmodern Romanian cultural identity. Herein lies the importance of the Romanian component – through Tristan Tzara, Marcel Iancu and his two brothers, Iuliu and George, Arthur Segal, and others – in the field of international academic studies dedicated to the movement. Finally, this issue manages to prove beyond doubt – through the influence in the art of young Romanian and foreign visual artists – that Dada still emanates an exceptional creative fertility which, in spite of a hundred years, will not deplete too soon, because in it lies the indefinite possibility of evolution through insubordination and contradiction.


Magda Cârneci, Editor-in-Chief


Cristina Bogdan

Founder and editor-in-chief, between 2014-19, of the online edition of Revista ARTA. Co-founder of East Art Mags, a network of contemporary art magazines from eastern and Central Europe. Runs ODD, a s...