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Title: Dada's female form : the interventions of five women artists, writers and performers in the European Dada movement
Author: Hemus, Ruth
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2006
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This thesis establishes the ways in which women made important contributions to the Dada movement in Europe by exploring the work of five individuals: Emmy Hennings and Sophie Taeuber in Zurich, Hannah Höch in Berlin, and Suzanne Duchamp and Céline Arnauld in Paris. Between them, these women represent the three principal geographic centres of the movement and encompass contributions across fine art, literature and performance. In each of five chapters I examine the work of the individual woman within the Dada context. In the case of the two women participants in Paris, the painter Duchamp and poet Arnauld, this work has scarcely been documented, let alone examined. More research has been undertaken into the work of the fine artists Taeuber and Höch, but there has been some tendency to distance these individuals from the Dada context, and not all aspects of their contributions have been given weight. In Hennings’s case, the emphasis on biography has all but obliterated her contributions to both performance and poetry. In general accounts of Dada, the names of these women participants, and others, have been frequently relegated to footnotes, with scarce consideration of the nature and impact of their work. They are often mentioned only as the wives, girlfriends or sisters of Dada men. The question of women’s position, status and interventions in Dada, meanwhile, has been largely overlooked or even rejected as a course of enquiry. Yet Dada is acknowledged as a revolutionary movement, a challenger of aesthetic, cultural and even socio-political conventions, so that an evaluation of gender relationships is even more compelling. I discuss the ways in which each woman’s work displays techniques and approaches characteristic of Dada. Additionally, I demonstrate how her interventions extend Dada and challenge accepted definitions. Finally, I explore the impact of gender both on the relationships within each group, and on the resulting artistic work. In these ways I show the women to have been not just imitators but innovators.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available