Surrealism are among the most significant movements of our
time. They challenged tradition, introducing innovative materials
and artistic strategies that would change the vocabulary of
art, and created an enduring legacy.
to generous gifts from donors and artists, the Israel Museum
has built an impressive holding of Dada and Surrealist art.
The collection comprises paintings, readymades, photographs,
and works in the wide variety of mediums these groundbreaking
movements employed, as well as an extensive library of documentary
and Beyond explores the key preoccupations of these movements:
“marvelous” juxtapositions, automatism and its
aftermath, biomorphism and metamorphosis, dreamscapes, and
desire. Reflecting the conviction that Dada and Surrealism
were universal spiritual and ideological movements, the exhibition
also integrates later works inspired by these movements' principles.
by the devastation of World War I, Dada emerged in 1916 in
Zurich, and rapidly spread to Berlin, Hannover, Cologne, New
York, and Paris. For the Dadaists, the war was final proof
of the bankruptcy of late nineteenth-century rationalism and
bourgeois culture, and the movement was launched with antiwar
performances at the Zurich Cabaret Voltaire. Romanian poet
Tristan Tzara asserted in the 1918 Manifesto that the infantile
yet suggestive word “Dada” (“hobbyhorse”
in French), lifted at random from a French-German dictionary,
does not signify anything. Aiming to destroy accepted principles
and deconstruct the traditional language of art, the Dadaists
adopted radical ideas and modes of artistic expression. Their
collages, assemblages, montages, readymades, films, and performances
are often considered nihilistic anti-art.
movement, born in Paris after 1919 out of Dada's ferment,
was committed to a revolution of spirit and the search for
a new reality. Inspired by Sigmund Freud's exploration of
the unconscious, Surrealism gave voice to the irrational and
creative forces found within the human psyche in its 1924
Manifesto. Its use of chance, automatism, biomorphic shapes,
visionary mode, and manipulation of mundane objects characterize
the work of artists as distinct as André Breton, Max
Ernst, Joan Miró, René Magritte, and Salvador
Dalí, among many others.
after the advent of these seminal movements, the creative,
critical, and ironic practices of Dada and Surrealism remain
open to reinvention and continue to shock and provoke.