Thursday, February 17, 2011

Dada and 'Paraphysics


Dada artists aimed to shock, and in the repressed atmosphere of the first half of the 20th Century, they did.

The images are no longer shocking . . .

. . . or even very interesting [this was an anti-war poster] . . .

. . . except to art historians. Marcel Duchamp's Nude Descending a Staircase survived in posers well into he 50s and perhaps later, possibly because of the title.


The most interesting connection with Dada (unless Dylan Thomas is a Dadaist, which surprises me), is 'pataphysics, introduced to me by a polymath, Roger Shattuck, at the University of Texas. 'Pataphysics changed my life, for the better. The peculiar way 'pataphysicians see "reality' continues to influence me by, for example, enclosing "reality" in quotation marks.


An example of contemporary 'pataphysical art. If this doesn't please you in some undefinable way, you are not a 'pataphysician.

Literature is the best way to experience 'pataphysics, and a way into 'pataphysics is through the Evergreen Review, which I discover to my astonishment is still being published. There is even an on-line version. I recommend it to those with eyes to see. See if you can find editions published in the late 50s.

There are also lively discussions of matters 'pataphysical on the web. See, for example, Heather McDougal's blog.

I read every issue of the Evergreen Review until I went off to War; and when I came back, it was to law school -- a different kind of war less suited to my temperament -- and I forgot about my love of 'pataphysics, until I started to write this blog.

I'm not much for words anymore. For words, I refer you to the inestimable Wikipedia. The definition I like best is "'Pataphysics is as far beyond metaphysics as metaphysics is beyond physics."

I have found these images:

In honor of a grandson

I guess this isn't 'pataphysical, but it caught my eye and I want to share it with you.

Most contemporary 'pataphysical art is not representational, so I don't like it; but I like the colors in this one, which is entitled Rising Landscape with Pataphysical Investigation.

This is not a Beetles' creation, but it might have been.

This is entitled Vibrating Shakespeare.

And this, of course, I like.

By and large I'm not a fan of pataphysical art. Go with the literature, you who can. I love the memory of it.

No comments: