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abstraction

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Abstraction played an important role in the Dada movement from its beginnings at the Cabaret Voltaire in Zurich. Influenced by Vasily Kandinsky, Zurich dadaists understood abstraction as a way of gaining access to a more instinctive inner consciousness. This turn inward was a politically motivated turn against contemporary society, a movement toward pure instinct in the face of failed rationality. The dadaists' embrace of abstraction reached across any specific artistic category, and became a primary force for creative expression in the visual arts, poetry, dance, and other performances. As Richard Huelsenbeck described: "In that period, as we danced, sang and recited night after night, abstract art was tantamount to absolute honor. "

Arp, and Taeuber, Untitled
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Hans Arp and Sophie Taeuber
French, 1886–1966; Swiss 1889–1943
Untitled (Duo-Collage), 1918
collage of paper, board, and silver leaf on board