Design: Marie Lusa, Zurich. © Swiss Post Ltd
The city of Zurich has a legacy – and with it, the whole of Switzerland, indeed the whole world. In 1916, the magical word “Dada” changed the face of art. In French, it means hobby horse and in Russian “yes yes”. There is even a lily-milk soap called “Dada”! In art, “Dada” first emerged exactly one hundred years ago in the Cabaret Voltaire at Spiegelgasse 1 in Zurich – and nothing would ever be the same again. A small group of emigrants, led by Hugo Ball and Emmy Hennings, adopted the name Dada in a stand against the madness of the First World War and led an assault on the senses in the form of poetry, collages, dance and music. The group included Alsace-born Hans Arp and Swiss national Sophie Taeuber, Romanians Tristan Tzara and Marcel Janco, along with Germans Richard Huelsenbeck and Walter Serner. From Zurich, the Dadaists created a network that spanned the globe with “Dada branches” in Paris, Berlin, New York and even Japan.
Yet Dada is not just local and global. Dada is universal: Hugo Ball described Dada as the “world soul” and, even 100 years after its baptism, its creative force has lost none of its fascination. The two special stamps marking the centenary of the avant garde movement depict Hugo Ball in his famous cubist costume, reciting his sound poem “Gadji beri bimba glandridi laula lonni cadori …”. The Dada head “Portrait of Jean Arp” by Sophie Taeuber illustrates the statement of Dadaist Francis Picabia: “Our heads are round so our thoughts can change direction”. With all these stimuli bouncing off in every direction, the famous Dada hands by Tristan Tzara guide us into the world. And Swiss Post is marking the anniversary with its two Dada stamps.
Juri Steiner, Director and Curator, Dada 100 Zurich 2016
The Dada centenary will be celebrated between early and mid-2016 by the dada100zurich2016 association. The association is in charge of the concept, providing support and overseeing communication and networking between public and private partners, museums, theatres, institutions, festivals, associations, organizations and individual initiatives. The Dada Centenary is receiving valuable support from the city and canton of Zurich and the Federal Office of Culture. There will be exhibitions, guided tours, performances, lectures, debates, seminars, publications, a documentary film and symposia. Digital and participatory Web projects, experimental and pop culture will also be exploring the world of Dada. And, finally, as the cradle and home of Dada, Cabaret Voltaire is planning an ambitious programme. For information and the latest diary of events, visit dada100zuerich2016.ch and cabaretvoltaire.ch.