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Dadaist Manifesto

by Tristan Tzara, Franz Jung, George Grosz, Marcel Janco, Richard Huelsenbeck, Gerhard Preisz, Raoul Hausmann
April 1918

Dadaist Manifesto (Berlin)

The signatories of this manifesto have, under the battle cry

DADA!!!!

gathered together to put forward a new art from which they expect the realisation of new ideas. So what is DADAISM, then?

The word DADA symbolises the most primitive relationship with the surrounding reality; with Dadaism, a new reality comes into its own.

Life is seen in a simultaneous confusion of noises, colours and spiritual rhythms which in Dadaist art are immediately captured by the sensational shouts and fevers of its bold everyday psyche and in all its brutal reality. This is the dividing line between Dadaism and all other artistic trends and especially Futurism which fools have very recently interpreted as a new version of Impressionism.

For the first time, Dadaism has refused to take an aesthetic attitude towards life.

It tears to pieces all those grand words like ethics, culture, interiorisation which are only covers for weak muscles.

THE BRUITIST POEM

describes a tramcar exactly as it is, the essence of a tramcar with the yawns of Mr Smith and the shriek of brakes.

THE SIMULTANEOUS POEM

teaches the interrelationship of things, while Mr Smith reads his paper, the Balkan express crosses the Nisch bridge and a pig squeals in the cellar of Mr Bones the butcher.

THE STATIC POEM

turns words into individuals. The letters of the word "wood" create the forest itself with the leafiness of its trees, the uniforms of the foresters and the wild boar. It could also create the Bellevue Boarding House or Bella Vista. Dadaism leads to fantastic new possibilities in forms of expression in all arts. It made Cubism into a dance on the stage, it spread the Futurist bruitist music all over Europe (for it had no desire to maintain this in its purely Italian context). The word DADA shows the international nature of a movement which is bound by no frontier, religion or profession. Dada is the international expression of our time, the great rebellion of artistic movements, the artistic reflexion of all those many attacks, peace congresses, scuffles in the vegetable markets, social get-togethers, etc., etc.

Dada demands the use of

NEW MATERIALS IN PAINTING

Dada is a club which has been founded in Berlin which you can join without any obligations. Here, every man is president and everyone has a vote in artistic matters. Dada is not some pretext to bolster up the pride of a few literary men (as our enemies would have the world believe). Dada is a state of mind which can be revealed in any conversation so that one is forced to say: "This man is a Dadaist, this one isn't." For these reasons, the Dada Club has members all over the world, in Honolulu as well as New Orleans and Meseritz. To be a Dadaist might sometimes mean being a businessman or a politician rather than an artist, being an artist only by accident. To be a Dadaist means being thrown around by events, being against sedimentation; it means sitting for a short instant in an armchair, but it also means putting your life in danger (M. Weng pulled his revolver out of his trouser pocket)... A fabric tears under the hand, one says yes to a life that seeks to grow by negation. Say yes, say no; the hurly-burly of existence is a good training ground for the real Dadaist. Here he is lying down, hunting, riding a bicycle, half Pantagruel, half St Francis, laughing and laughing. Down with aesthetic-ethical tendencies! Down with the anaemic abstraction of Expressionism! Down with the literary hollow-heads and their theories for improving the world!

Long live Dadaism in word and image! Long live the Dada events of this world! To be against this manifesto is to be a Dadaist!


Berlin, April
Tristan Tzara, Franz Jung, George Grosz, Marcel Janco, Richard Hülsenbeck, Gerhard Preisz, Raoul Hausmann

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