Saturday, March 28, 2015

The Da-di-da of Uranus

Without as much time as usual to research and prepare an Arty Farty Friday post for yesterday, I posted something else. I've since dug out this post from 2007, it was really about art, but there's brief mention of Uranus transits in Aquarius, Pisces and Aries. At that point in 2007 our current Uranus in Aries transit was still to come. I had to grin as I read my 2007 words "...Rebellion needs a hard edge - Uranus in Aries could well bring it forth in future years." I experienced that hard edge myself recently - see Thursday's post! My Saturn and Moon in Aries were not doing me any favours this week, courtesy of my Sun's ruler Uranus!

Here's the archived 2007 post:

A recent short article by comedian Richard Belzer, "I Want My Dada" led me to Google-search Dada, and wonder about Uranus in Aquarius transits.

I'd heard about Dadaism before, but had never fully understood its significance. The Dada movement was short-lived. It survived roughly from around 1915 to 1920, founded by a group of European artists, writers and creative thinkers with the basic intention of protest against the World War then raging, the establishment and current bourgeois attitudes and values. ArtLex defines Dada thus -

"An early twentieth century art movement which ridiculed contemporary culture and traditional art forms. The movement was formed to prove the bankruptcy of existing style of artistic expression rather than to promote a particular style itself. It was born as a consequence of the collapse during World War I of social and moral values which had developed to that time." ("Republican Automatons" by George Grosz, right)

From Belzer's article:
"All (so-called) modern thought was called into question. It was reasoned that at that point in history we had become so barbarous that precious human life was chillingly expendable for the most ill-conceived and deceptive purposes."

Astrologically I think it's very significant that during those years Uranus was transiting the sign of its own modern ruler, Aquarius. This is the planet of rebellion, invention and revolution, much strengthened in its home sign. That Uranus transit through Aquarius coincided almost exactly with the time-span of Dadaism, also, of course, with the first World War (1914-1918).

I'm not sure that Richard Belzer's call ("I implore, I compel, and I all but beg those in the creative community to once again question and challenge") to follow in the footsteps of Dada is going to get very far. Uranus is now (2007) transiting the more philosophical, softer hearted sign of Pisces. I doubt that a new and improved Dada movement can be expected anytime soon. Rebellion needs a hard edge - Uranus in Aries could well bring it forth in future years.

The more recent Uranus in Aquarius transit which occurred between April 1995 and March 2003 included the fateful September 11 2001, and events which reverberate still. As far as I know, there was no movement comparable with Dadaism during that transit. There were protest marches against the proposed invasion of Afghanistan, and later, Iraq but no definable movement which could be labelled as an "ism". We are still too close to that period to see it properly in focus, and importantly, in context with what is to come next. Historians of the future may detect things in that period which are invisible to us now.

More examples of Dada art can be viewed via Google Image.

A few words more to add, now, about Dada art in general:


Dada and Surrealism were two movements that developed as a reaction to the confusion following World War I. Dada started in the neutral city of Zurich in Switzerland immediately following the end of the War. Dada, however, was not intended to be a new art movement. According to Tristan Tzara, one of the founders of the movement, “The beginnings of Dada were not the beginnings of art, but of disgust.” People were confused and angry after the Great War, and their rage fueled their artistic creativity. They sought to break down conventions in the arts in order to bring forth a new, improved culture. Even the name “dada” mocked the time period because the name for the movement was decided upon by randomly choosing a word from the dictionary. The Dada movement made thorough use of obscenities, satire, humor, puns, and everyday objects (usually with a little tweaking) to evoke feelings of rage or shock. It was whimsical and original, which is perhaps why the public enjoyed the movement while it lasted. One of the most famous artists of the Dada movement was Max Ernst. One of his most famous pieces was called “Celebes,” painted in 1921 (see below). The painting is of a creature that somewhat resembles an elephant. It shows darkness (via the colors) and mockery (disfigurement of the creature), which are key aspects of Dada art. The Dada movement subsided around 1923, which gave way for a similar movement to prosper in its place: surrealism.

It seems the idea for this painting originally evolved from a smutty German short poem about an elephant- read the poem HERE.


[Dada] Participants claimed various, often humorous definitions of “Dada” — “Dada is irony,” “Dada is anti-art,” “Dada will kick you in the behind” — though the word itself is a nonsense utterance. As the story goes, the name Dada was either chosen at random by stabbing a knife into a dictionary, or consciously selected for a variety of connotations in different languages — French for “hobbyhorse” or Russian for “yes, yes.” (HERE)

 Da-da (New York Dada Group) by Richard Boix (1921). Ink on paper.


James Higham said...

Dada? Be serious. :)

Sonny G said...

sorry Annie.. I just dont like it:)
as we say in the south " that ain't a bit purdy, nope, not nary bit.

Twilight said...

James Higham ~ For them it was - satirically serious.

Twilight said...

Sonny ~ I agree - I wouldn't hang it on my wall either! It did have points to make though, during the times in which the style was created - rather as political cartoons, and videos in the 21st century.

mike said...

There are a number of Dada works that I wouldn't mind on my walls, but not particularly the examples you've shown in your post! An example I like is "Untitled (Squares Arranged according to the Laws of Chance)" (1917) by Jean Arp. A quick search of "modern dada" yields a number of artists that are contemporaneously labelled surrealists, but fall into the Dada category, such as Sammy Slabbinick's work ( ).

And there are contemporary artists such as Tracey Emin with her "My Bed", 1998, that recently sold for 4.3 million dollars. It has a Dada-feel, but is labeled "Stuckism"...LOL.

"...'Stuckism is a quest for authenticity'. Remodernism, the other well-known manifesto of the movement, is a criticism of postmodernism; it aims to get back to the true spirit of modernism, to produce art with spiritual value regardless of style, subject matter or medium. In another manifesto they define themselves as anti-anti-art which is against anti-art and for art."

Sandwiched between the Dada and Stuckists is Neo-Dada from the 1960s and 1970s:

I think there are a number of contemporary artists that would fulfill the criteria of Dada, except they are NOW. We have a number of anti-war artists:;_ylt=A0LEVvee1xZV2UUAphcnnIlQ;_ylu=X3oDMTB0b2ZrZmU3BHNlYwNzYwRjb2xvA2JmMQR2dGlkA1lIUzAwMl8x?_adv_prop=image&fr=yhs-mozilla-001&va=anti+war+art&hspart=mozilla&hsimp=yhs-001

And graffiti artists:;_ylt=A0LEVkAe2BZVAWUA4ZUnnIlQ;_ylu=X3oDMTB0b2ZrZmU3BHNlYwNzYwRjb2xvA2JmMQR2dGlkA1lIUzAwMl8x?_adv_prop=image&fr=yhs-mozilla-001&va=graffiti+art&hspart=mozilla&hsimp=yhs-001

Twilight said...

mike ~ I like most of Slabbinck's work (thanks for link)- very, very clever and creative. I'd say it's a step ahead of vintage DaDa stuff, probably not easily put into any established category.

I can't be doing with Tracy Emin and her ilk. Emperors and new togs come to mind.

Graffiti artists - yes, I'm with you on that. They didn't exist in the same way they do today in vintage Dada time. Some of them - the best of some of them - try to tread a similar route of getting a message out to everyday people, rather than art elitists, about current circumstances and problems.

LB said...

My first thought was of "Dada" being the way a baby or small child calls out to its father.:)

Twilight said...

LB ~ me of that old song My heart belongs to Daddy"
There's a line in it that goes da dada dada da da da da

LB said...

Adding, how as I've considered picking up my *own* paintbrush once again, I've gone back and forth about the value in it when there's so much unanswered suffering in the world.

Do I want to create more 'junk' that will eventually end up in landfill? And how ethically are the canvases and other materials I'm likely to use being produced?

It bothers me to think something I create would contribute to our environmental and social problems ~ which it might!

Not that becoming rich is anything I need to worry about, but as a profession, it almost seems pointless and counterproductive to create objects of beauty to hang in the homes of the wealthy and privileged . . . unless the proceeds provide the artists with the wherewithal (money/time) to make a tangible difference elsewhere.

The same would be true of darker art with a harder edge (anti-art). If it doesn't inspire or challenge us to change our perspectives and ***behaviors***, then in the end it's all just an intellectual (or aesthetic) exercise.

I've thought about using recycled materials to create art (maybe collage) that depicts the ways in which we contribute to modern-day slavery, though based on the responses I receive just talking about it, I have to wonder if it would make much of a difference to anyone but me.:( I'll probably stick to beautiful subjects with less obvious messages. Art is at least worthwhile as a form of self-expression, or as a way to remind us of something bigger.

So what I don't know is if the Dada movement changed anything. And did the artists still make money by selling their anti-art to wealthy patrons? So much of art is reserved for those who can afford to enjoy and/or pay for it . . . which is in and of itself, a contradiction.

I found a great online article about the Dada movement that describes the spiritual struggles of Hugo Ball, on of the movement's anti-artists. Apparently he was aware of the movement's inherent contradictions. Eventually he became so disillusioned (with art), he stopped creating and turned to Catholicism:

Your post touched on something I've been thinking about a lot lately, Twilight (North Node in Libra, natal 2H, progressed 12th.:) Thanks.

Twilight said...

LB ~ I understand your reluctance and the reasons for it. My husband enjoys painting - has dabbled since his youth. These days he makes his own frames from strips of wood and material bought by the yard (not proper canvas but similar, cheaper); or has been known to paint or draw on the good-sized pieces of cardboard that used to come with men's new shirts, or similar, as packing.

I like your idea of using recycled materials as you described, for collage depicting some negative aspect of modern life.

There's the internet too - how about using the net in some way - that's not using anything but the electricity and subscription already
paid. Maybe art can be produced, with practice, on screen (maybe it'd entail buying special software though).

I don't know whether Dadaism changed anything - anymore than occasional rants online change anything - highly unlikely. Still they act as valves for letting off steam. No bad thing.

I doubt wealthy people would have bought DaDa pieces during the time they were created, but in later decades some pieces have amassed high value, for sure.

I read a little on Hugo Ball yesterday - will go read some more. :-)

LB said...

Twilight ~ It's great your husband has found alternative ways to create. I still have quite a few unused canvases lying around, plus several used items purchased inexpensively at second-hand stores, also a bunch of paper and other supplies.

Thanks for your suggestions and interest.:) The internet idea is tempting but maybe not my cuppa tea, though I admit some of my art would benefit from a little technical fine-tuning.

mike (again) said...

LB - I don't know how you can deny yourself the artistic urge you are feeling! The reasons you provide for not indulging are admirable, but pretty lame...LOL. Sounds like an excuse to not confront your creativity. I assume you want to paint oils or acrylic, since you mention canvas. Plywood and particle board are plentiful...scraps abound that will end-up in the dump otherwise. If you wear clothing, I'm not sure why you are concerned about the ethics of canvas. As we've discussed too many times, EVERYTHING has a moral-ethical equivalent in our lives...simply being alive has implications. Your moral-ethical dilemmas are not necessarily the same as mine and vice versa. If you have to torture yourself over canvas, then use the carbon footprint offset idea...for each canvas, plant a tree or donate a jar of peanut butter to your food bank, etc (whatever helps to alleviate the guilt).

A woman here that uses plastic found on the beach to create her art:

Just released for noncommercial use is RenderMan FREE software developed and used by Pixar film studio:

Anonymous said...

Da da da

Art for arts sake!


Twilight said...


Hadn't come across that da-da one before...Wow! - Look at Sting, all young and beautiful (and irritating back then).. I like him much better now. :-)

Yep! Art as she is spoken - in many languages.