The Dada art movement began in Zurich, Switzerland in 1916 as a direct, negative reaction to World War I and the political atmosphere in Europe during that time. The Dadaists rejected aesthetic convention, preferring to highlight the illogical, the absurd, intuition and randomness. They experimented with new methods of art making, music, and writing. One such method was collage, which had been introduced not long before by the painters Pablo Picasso and Georges Braques during their Cubist period. The Dadaists expanded upon the use of collage, creating purely abstract compositions that were less about picture making than they were about the actual materials being used. Collage allowed the Dadaists to express their ideas about the absurd by using clippings from magazines, newspapers, and other media, as well as explore the concepts of intuition and randomness in art making. It is my belief that the Dadaists were ultimately responsible for turning modern art on its head, and they continue to influence to this day.
When I began studying art as a teenager I was introduced to the work of Max Ernst by a surrealist painter. Through Ernst I learned about Dada and its artists, and I was profoundly affected by their aesthetic and approach to art making. I feel a debt of gratitude to the Dada artists and their influence on modern and contemporary art.