Duchamp’s Fountain and The History of Dada: An Artistic Revolution
Dadaism is a movement that emerged in Zurich, Switzerland, in 1916 (Tzara 3). This art movement was a protest against the first World War and the cultural, political and social ideas of the time. They were convinced that the logic behind the bourgeois capitalist society had started the war (Richter). Dadaism paved the way for many art movements and revolutionized art. One of the most influential art pieces that emerged from this movement was “The Fountain” by Marcel Duchamp.
Switzerland, being a neutral country, became home to many European refugee artists. They all converged at a nightclub in Zurich called the Cabaret Voltaire, which then became a pivotal art space and birthplace for the movement in 1916 (Naima 3-8).
The Cabaret Voltaire curated many artworks that mirrored the turmoil of the war that surrounded it, it encouraged experimentation and in its own way became a place of solace to many dada artists of that time (Loggia 151-157). Hugo Ball, co-founder of the Cabaret Voltaire, said that “Every word that is spoken and sung here (the Cabaret Voltaire) represents at least this one thing: that this humiliating age has not succeeded in winning our respect” (Ball 111).
The movement rejected the conventional idea of art, which was primarily based on aesthetics, creating anti-art with the intention of challenging the conception of how art is required to be beautiful and questioning art in general.