What is Dadaism: the artistic revolution of the twentieth century

Gioconda | Duchamp

La Gioconda di Duchamp. Image source: https://it.wikipedia.org

Are you familiar with Dadaism and have you wondered what exactly it represents in the vast universe of art? This movement, which emerged in the early decades of the twentieth century, radically transformed the perception of art and the role of the artist, laying the foundation for the advent of later currents such as Surrealism.

Through this post, I want to take you into the heart of Dadaism, discovering together its origins, its defining characteristics, and its lasting impact on artistic culture.

What is Dadaism: the artistic revolution of the twentieth century

Dada | mostre Brescia

The birth of Dadaism, or simply Dada, corresponds to that dramatic period of the twentieth century when World War I was raging. Dada was in fact born in 1916 in Zurich, Switzerland.
This cultural movement represented a clear break with the artistic conventions of the past, opposing everything that had preceded it. 

The founders of Dada including such figures as Marcel Duchamp, Tristan Zara and Hans Arp, sought to disrupt the artistic landscape with provocative nonconformist works, using new media such as photomontage, collage and Ready-made.


The term “Dada” is shrouded in mystery, with different theories explaining its origin. Some argue that it reflects children’s language, others that it was randomly chosen precisely because of the absurdity of the sound. However, the essence of Dadaism goes beyond the simple term that identifies it, embodying a spirit of rebellion against convention and an innovative approach to artistic creation.


One of the greatest revolutions brought about by Dadaism was the introduction of the concept of Ready-made, which challenged the very idea of what could be considered art.
Duchamp’s Fountain, a urinal presented as a work of art, challenged the role of the artist and the creative process, opening the way to endless interpretive and expressive possibilities.


Despite its short existence, Dadaism left an indelible mark on 20th century art, inspiring later art movements such as Surrealism. With its rejection of the rules of art and culture and its emphasis on freedom of expression, Dadaism paved the way for further exploration of the depths of the human psyche and the irrational.

Fontana | Duchamp

La Fontana di Marcel Duchamp.

Dadaism with its defiance of conventions and irreverent spirit continues to inspire artists and thinkers to this day, reminding us of the importance of continually questioning and reinventing our perception towards art and creativity.
We can safely say that Dadaism was one of the most revolutionary movements in the history of art.

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