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A Comparison of Dadaism and Surrealism





As someone who has spent a lot of time in high school studying art movements, I hadn’t heard some of the things about Dadaism that was mentioned in this article. For example, I had no idea that they couldn’t have leaders, or even that their anti-authoritarianism reached that far. This is understandable, though, since the war was something that made people rebel against traditional practices and ideas.

The Surrealists

I have studied surrealism much more than Dadaism. Even though they are similar in appearance, their upbringings were much different from one another. That was fascinating because I never realized how two totally different things -war and peace -could produce something so similar.

Dadaism emerged from times of war, when people were being killed left and right and at random. But, Surrealism was born from a decade of peace and prosperity. The wounds from war were ignored or celebrated, and many Surrealists tried to escape reality.

The Dadaists

Dadaism is also neat because the Dadaists reacted positively to machines and machinery more so than others. They saw them as beneficial, even calling the home “a machine for living”. This was great in short term, but there were many understandable criticisms of Dadaism because of this.

Dadaism was impersonal; there wasn’t that close-knit family or link to things loved like many other art styles. Things were just random – they were placed for a reason but often times only the artist knows the true reason.

The Movements

Both of these movements were of writers and poets and artists. They both encompassed all the creative parts, and each had their own style. The Surrealists were more traditional in their methods of accomplishing arts; while the Dadaists tried new, abstract ways of doing things. The Surrealists sought a new way of writing “automatically”, without conscious control.

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A Personal Note

I realized that through the exercise we did in class last week, we were trying to accomplish art the way that the Surrealists and abstract expressionists did. We weren’t allowed to pick out our color, or open our eyes to see what we were doing. I was actually pretty happy with the way mine turned out. This was something I had never done before; I’m used to drawing with my eyes and seeing things while I draw them to know if they are okay or not. Doing it without my eyes open was something that really “opened my eyes” (pun) to new ways of doing things in the art world. It’s something I would definitely like to try again in the future, this time when I can pick the colors I want and use more than just one color. I might do it with paint next time, too.

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