Design Inspiration – DADAISM

Hoch, Hannah. Cut with the Dada Kitchen Knife through the Last Weimar Beer-Belly Cultural Epoch in Germany. 1919. Print, 44 9/10 × 35 2/5 in. Artsy.

Hoch, Hannah. Cut with the Dada Kitchen Knife through the Last Weimar Beer-Belly Cultural Epoch in Germany. 1919. Print, 44 9/10 × 35 2/5 in. Artsy.

Cunningham, Matt. Neighborhood Watch. 2018. Print, 8 x 10 in. Kyo Gallery.

Cunningham, Matt. Neighborhood Watch. 2018. Print, 8 x 10 in. Kyo Gallery.

Taking advantage of the assignment, it seems like a good time to appreciate how Dadaism has been influencing the works of my favourite graphic designers and also my works as an illustrator/ graphic designer wannabe. The works that can brilliantly represent early Dadaism are probably “The Fountain” by Marcel Duchamp and “Cut with the Dada Kitchen Knife through the Last Weimar Beer-Belly Cultural Epoch in Germany” by Hannah Hoch. The method of creating Dada work is using ready-made materials to recreate them, manipulate them and produce something new that can convey a concept just as wholesome as any other method, be it painting, drawing, or sculpting…( Tate ). Dadaism questions the value of everything artistic and questions the norm of crafting. From what I’ve learned, the way to spot out a Dada work is the use of collage, ready-made materials such as photographs, cut-out typeface, magazines,… and combine them with the artist’s own touch. Additionally, Dadaism was born in a terribly depressing time, World War I and used as a tool to defy society standard as well as the brutality and violence of war, the insanity of the majority (Moma).

Through that understanding of Dadaism, the chosen modern work is a clear evident of how Dadaism has made its way through history and influence current time graphic design work. As mentioned, a clear method of Dadaism is ‘recycling’ ready-made materials and turn them into a new piece of work with the style of the designer. As we look at the modern work “Neighborhood Watch” by Matt Cunningham (also known as Moon Patrol), the use of ready-made materials are selective and with the advancement of technology. Cunningham is able to manipulate the pieces and put them together in a convincing way, ‘tricking’ the audience into thinking that the collage materials were actually made by one person. And that, is the brilliant part of Dadaism. Despite of being a graphic designer in modern time, Cunningham still put in the effort to appreciate the vintage look of beige, old and worn out looking papers and colours. Hannah Hoch’s work has its own vintage, saturated beige colour coming off of the cut-outs. Compared to Cunningham’s work, he tends to go for a cleaner, more organized and cohesive look, thus the effort of harmonies all the materials so satisfyingly smooth. However, Cunningham only selectively gather cut out imageries to create his work but choose to create the typeface by himself. Nonetheless, this is an obvious demonstration of how Dadaism has been evidently influence modern time graphic designers aggressively, even if the designers choose to outsource read-made letters or create them by themselves. Dadaism has proved to be relevant and effective to convey modern concepts as well as challenging social norms and standards. 

Works Cited:

Hoch, Hannah. Cut with the Dada Kitchen Knife through the Last Weimar Beer-Belly Cultural Epoch in Germany. 1919. Artsy, https://www.artsy.net/artwork/hannah-hoch-cut-with-the-dada-kitchen-knife-through-the-last-weimar-beer-belly-cultural-epoch-in-germany. Accessed 05 April 2019.

Cunningham, Matt. Neighborhood Watch. 2018. Kyo Gallery, https://kyogallery.com/product/neighborhood-watch/. Accessed 05 April 2019.

“World War I and Dada”, Moma, https://www.moma.org/learn/moma_learning/themes/dada/. Accessed 05 April 2019.

“Ready Made”, Tate, https://www.tate.org.uk/art/art-terms/r/readymade. Accessed 05 April 2019.

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