When we talk about art, pictures of famous paintings and sculptures like Mona Lisa (Leonardo Da Vinci), Shakuntala (Raja Ravi Verma), David (Michaelangelo) and many more pop up in our brains. We talk about it, critique it and if you are rich enough, you buy it.
But when something does not fit the picture of conventional art or if the art is not ‘good enough’, we generally assume it is worthless. This is what the Dadaists wanted to challenge – our idea of normal and perfect.
Anti-art is the birth child of Dada movement. For those who are not familiar with Dadaism, it was an avant-garde intellectual art movement started during World War I. And the word ‘Dada’ literally has no meaning. It is just a word. And anti-art is a term loosely used to describe concepts that reject prior definitions of art and question art in general.
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Dadaist were eccentric people, and so was their art. You can describe their art as camp, absurd, ridiculous, and not art. See, this movement wanted to take a fun quip at bourgeois art, widespread during those times as in “art is only for the rich and the poor had no take on it”. Also, they disregarded perfectionism and nationalism. Their main aim was to annihilate the traditional values and convention created by societies and evolve with new ideas or as Bill Hicks, American comedian and satirist, puts it:
Confucius said, “what is the sound of one hand clapping and there is no sound”. You know what I say (flaps hand in the air) Fuck Confucius and Move on.
Dadaist wanted art to be a part of everybody life, to be accessible to everyone and not a property of rich. They hated the idea of art being snobby. Their art was deliberately nonsense and weird because they wanted to embrace that of being human.
That is why anti-art mattered.
And it is so relevant today. Today people want to be flawless, to be perfect, the pressure of being the best is so much that it is not quantifiable. Not only we surround but consume only what is best. People are closeting themselves, they hate to be real because the real them is not smart and perfect as society wants it.
To remove the notion of being best, to do what you enjoy even if it’s stupid – more like Phoebe’s songs –is to liberate ourselves from perfectionism. This way you can be real in the public, without any shame. We need anti-art to teach us to be our true self. To make us not hate ourself because we are not excellent.
Anti-art can be anything and can mean nothing. It all depends on you. But it gives you the courage to do something. You might dislike my writing even make fun of it but you know what I am open to criticism because I am creating anti-art to evolve and not in the race of being the best.
And this is why anti-art matter.
Raven is a raw artist and writes whatever comes to her mind.
Featured image credit: Vidar Nordli Mathisen/Unsplash