Dadaism is an art movement that developed after the first World War. It was a time when the world appeared to be unstable and this movement was a response to a chaotic society, ‘the world had lost it’s mind, so art would lose it’s mind’. This was achieved by the dadaist’s rejecting traditional conventions about creating art, by creating surreal ‘anti-art’. There aren’t any defining characteristics of the movement, but collages were prevalent during the movement, such as Hannah Hoch’s photomontage’s and Man Rays photograms (below).
Marcel Duchamp, a key figure in the dada movement, created ‘readymades’ which were found objects the artist would take and present them as art. This subversive process was a method Man Ray used quite often in his own work and in the creation of his photograms, or ‘Rayograms’ (a term he created, after claiming he had accidentally discovered the process of making photograms), by overlaying found objects onto photographic paper to create complex patterns. Man Ray perfected the composition of photograms by understanding the shadows objects cast when overlapping each other “making a significant contribution to the dada’s integration of materials from everyday life into artistic process and to it’s endeavors in abstract imagery”. It is this abstraction of objects into complex montages that is recognisable in many of Man Ray’s photograms, which were “acclaimed by [his] fellow-dadaists because of their anti-artistic and apparently casual technique.”
It’s clear to see that Man Ray’s photograms were a prominent icon of the dada movement. Because of this I have a strong association between photograms and dadaism and this is what has led me to produce a series of photograms for this project.
I see similarities in how I am responding to contemporary issues as the dadaists responded to issues of their time. Post World War I society was fragile and chaotic, which is how I see the issues facing the LGB community currently. So for me the photogram is an appropriate medium to use when expressing my response to these contemporary issues.