Download e-book for iPad: Dada Presentism: An Essay on Art and History by Maria Stavrinaki


By Maria Stavrinaki

Dada is frequently celebrated for its options of outrage and competition, yet in Dada Presentism, Maria Stavrinaki presents a brand new photo of Dada paintings and writings as a lucid mirrored image on historical past and the position of paintings inside it. the unique (Berlin-based) Dadaists' acute old realization and their sleek adventure of time, she contends, expected the formulations of significant historians equivalent to Reinhart Koselleck and, extra lately, François Hartog. The publication explores Dada temporalities and ideas of heritage in artistic endeavors, inventive discourse, and within the images of the Berlin Dada flow. those photographs—including the recognized one of many First foreign Dada Fair—are provided now not as easy, obvious files, yet as formal deployments conforming to a truly concrete conception of background. This procedure permits Stavrinaki to hyperlink Dada to extra modern creative events and practices attracted to heritage and the archive. whilst, she investigates what looks a true oxymoron of the flow: its simultaneous declare to the ephemeral and its compulsive writing of its personal historical past. during this manner, Dada Presentism additionally interrogates the boundaries among heritage and fiction.

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Extra info for Dada Presentism: An Essay on Art and History

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6 The Dadaists were acutely aware of the incongruous connections between techniques of spiritual and moral elevation and techniques of material production. 7 The semiotic and temporal ambivalence found in Grosz and Heartfield’s assemblage—between Spirit and matter, between the nobility of antiquity and the brutality of the present—becomes even clearer in comparison with Rudolf Schlichter’s more rudimentary montage of past and present in his work Corrected Masterpieces, also on display at the Dada Messe.

1 But this photograph of the core members of Berlin Dada can also be understood on its own terms—that is, not as the transparent document of a legendary event but as a somewhat more opaque device, a meticulous staging of the formal, rhetorical, and ontological strategies forged by Dadaist subjectivity in its struggle with the temporality of the present. In the aftermath of a disastrous war, as the Spartacist revolution was tearing German society apart, these artists realized that mastering the present—by definition fleeting and more threatening than ever—meant defending its sovereignty 24 THE PRESENT AS REPRODUCIBLE TIME F I G U R E 8 .

In conclusion, the dams had burst and the floodwaters could carry away all they liked. There was the response of Baader: the double, triple, even quadruple play of ambivalence, protean subjectivity adapting to the flux of time. But Baader was one of a kind. Despite their differences, the other Berlin Dadaists did not give themselves over with abandon to the “furtively receding nothing” but tried to critically and constructively question the various segments of time: past, present, and future. It is this double nature of the Dadaists’ work—critical and affirmative at once, combined with a good dose of historical materialism and an acute anthropological sensibility—that Roman Jakobson and others like him missed when they insisted only on the Dadaist devaluation of time and artworks, and it is this critical-affirmative dimension of modern reproducibility, with the utopian resources it contained, that escaped both the melancholic Kracauer and the humanist Panofsky.

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