[artinfo] cabaret voltaire, Dada Zurich presents Dada East? The Romanians of Cabaret Voltaire

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Sat Sep 16 14:58:41 CEST 2006

Dada East?
The Romanians of Cabaret Voltaire
Dada Est? Românii de la Cabaret Voltaire

Opening:September 20, 2006 6 p.m.
Exhibtion: September 20, 2006 – February 22, 2007
Conference: October 28, 2006

cabaret voltaire, Dada – Zurich
Spiegelgasse 1
CH-8001 Zurich
http://www.cabaretvoltaire.ch> http://www.cabaretvoltaire.ch
info at cabaretvoltaire.ch
T: +41 43 268 57 20

Artists: Mircea Cantor (RO), Stefan 
Constantinescu (RO), Harun Faroki (CZ) and Andrei 
Ujica (RO), Ion Grigorescu (RO), Marcel Janco 
(RO), Sebastian Moldovan (RO), Ciprian Muresan 
(RO), Dan Perjovschi (RO), Lia Perjovschi (RO), 
Cristi Pogacean (RO) and Tristan Tzara (RO).

Curator: Adrian Notz in cooperation with Raimund Meyer and Juri Steiner.

Officially, Dada was born on the 5th of February 
1916 when Hugo Ball and Emmy Hennings opened the 
literary-artistic Cabaret Voltaire in the 
restaurant Meierei at Spiegelgasse 1 in Zürich. 
In his journal “Flight out of Time“, Hugo Ball 
writes: “
 a deputation of four oriental looking 
little men appeared, carrying portfolios and 
paintings; they kept bowing discreetly. They 
introduced themselves: Marcel Janco the painter, 
Tristan Tzara, George Janco, and a gentleman 
whose name I missed.” These four little men, 
still being youngsters – the fourth must have 
been Jancos brother Jules – had all been running 
away from Romania. Tristan Tzara, this “dompteur 
des acrobats", and Marcel Janco, the 
well-tempered artistic experimenter would become 
an important influence for Dada Zurich.

We can find numerous mental cartographies of the 
forerunners and precursors of Dada. However, the 
developments in Eastern Europe have gained only 
very little attention. It is also the merit of 
Tom Sandqvist’s book “Dada East; The Romanians of 
Cabaret Voltaire”, published in spring 2006, that 
a focus has been set on Romania and that cultural 
and historical context, which might have had 
particular impact on the activities in Zurich. 
Sandqvist also reckons that the relationship to 
East European Yiddish tradition was particularly 
significant and accordingly influential: all of 
the “Romanians of the Cabaret Voltaire", 
including Arthur Segal, had been brought up 
within Jewish culture and tradition.

In a historical search for traces, the cabaret 
voltaire exhibition deals critically with the 
artistic and personal context of Tristan Tzara 
and Marcel Janco. We interpret the indicators 
suggested by Tom Sandqvist, we inquire the 
dadaist precondition – and its meaning for the 
history of Dada and cabaret voltaire today. We 
will refine this historical nucleus of the 
exhibition with a little homage to Janco and 
Tzara, we will show works which were made by them 
in the wake of the Zurich Dada Seasons – and 
there is one pearl which has not seen daylight 
ever since.

We also use the indicators as an occasion to 
inquire how the topic could be debated in 
contemporary context and, even more, to look for 
the potential and meaning of “Dada East" for the 
cultural scene of Romania. It is today’s 
perspective. We want to fin out why people who 
are currently engaged in cultural work, are 
interested in the dada from the past. This is one 
of the main questions which cabaret voltaire 
keeps asking and instigating.

The contemporary Romanian artists offer possible answers.
Mircea Cantor and Dan Perjovschi have developed 
works especially for the exhibition “Dada East? 
The Romanians of Cabaret Voltaire" which reveal 
their relationship to Dada and the Romanian 
avant-garde. In addition to that, the works by 
Stefan Constantinescu, Harun Faroki and Andrei 
Ujica, Ion Grigorescu, Sebastian Moldovan, 
Ciprian Muresan, Lia Perjovschi and Cristi 
Pogacean open new possible perspectives on the 
conception of Dada.

With great support of Michael Ilk, Nicolae Tzone, 
the Embassy of Romania in Switzerland and the 
Romanian Cultural Institute in Bucharest.
Scenography and realization by Kunstumsetzung GmbH, Zurich.
Special thanks to Ion Pop and Tom Sandqvist.

Supported by: The City of Zurich and The Swatch Group.


Sandquist, Tom: Dada East: the Romanians of Cabaret Voltaire
433pp, b/w illus, 23 x 20.5cm.	Published: Cambridge MA '06
Sandquist offers a different account of the 
origins of Dadaism. Instead of the conventional 
view that the movement sprang from a Cabaret 
Voltaire literary evening in Zurich in February 
1916, he argues that Dada grew out of an already 
vibrant artistic tradition in Eastern Europe.
ISBN: 0.262.19507.0	Price: £29.95 hardback

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