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‘Tout est tatou’: Dada as artistic suicide or alternative identity.

Urquhart, Frances Elizabeth (2011)
M.Phil. thesis, University of Birmingham.

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Abstract

Deliberately difficult, intentionally irritating, Dada exploded into the world as a reaction to the horrors of modernity within war-torn Europe, and is often written off as nihilistic, destructive, or mad. Despite its frequent association with negativity, Dada’s unrivalled energy and complex relationship to mindsets continue to fascinate, demonstrable by the movement’s enduring position as a subject of academic research, and its constant presence at exhibitions in museums and galleries worldwide. This thesis explores Dada in relation to artistic suicide, based on the premise that, despite its nihilism, the movement’s ultimate goal was the proposition of a radical new alternative identity and, further, that Dada constitutes an eternally relevant redefinition of humanity. This premise is investigated via three themes regarding the development and projection of identity: self-image, self-awareness, and selfreflection, through manifestations of Dada expression in relation to twentieth-century identity-based discourses. Through the analysis of the visual work of Sophie Taeuber Arp and Marcel Duchamp, the films of Hans Richter and Man Ray, and collaborative avant-garde reviews, an assessment of the geographic and temporal development of the Dada personality will provide the basis for new insights into the suicidally creative tendencies of Dada as a movement.

Type of Work:M.Phil. thesis.
Supervisor(s):Forcer, Stephen
School/Faculty:Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
Department:School of Languages, Culture, Art History and Music, Cultural Inquiry
Subjects:D501 World War I
DL Northern Europe. Scandinavia
HS Societies secret benevolent etc
Institution:University of Birmingham
ID Code:3094
This unpublished thesis/dissertation is copyright of the author and/or third parties. The intellectual property rights of the author or third parties in respect of this work are as defined by The Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 or as modified by any successor legislation. Any use made of information contained in this thesis/dissertation must be in accordance with that legislation and must be properly acknowledged. Further distribution or reproduction in any format is prohibited without the permission of the copyright holder.
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