Sophie Taeuber’s quiet voice is often lost within the avant-garde, and particularly among her raucous male contemporaries. Yet her talent spans the arts, and it is this interdisciplinarity that makes her artistic personality so distinct and important. This paper investigates identity as assemblage in Taeuber’s work, taking into account “components working to stabilize [its] identity as well as components forcing it to change or even transforming it into a different assemblage”.[i] This addresses the idea of the flexibility of fragmented or hybrid images in relation to constructions of the self. Furthermore, it will consider that self in relation to others and as a reaction to society (in Taeuber’s case, the traumatic inter-war era). Did her works’ deceptive simplicity hide a greater comment on the nature of avant-garde selfhood? What is the existential value of such work that transcends the boundaries of artistic media?
Taeuber’s labelling by her fellow Dada adherents as “shy”, “thoughtful”, “unassuming”, and “quiet”,[ii] has led to her neglect in Dada literature both of the time and in the current field of research.[iii] Despite her apparent timidity, however, on investigating accounts of her involvement and engaging in analysis of her work it becomes evident that she enthusiastically embraced Dada’s energy and matched the attempts of her male counterparts to produce new, innovative works and unleash pure, abstract expression. As Richter describes, Taeuber “had acquired the skill of reducing the world of lines, surfaces, forms and colours to its simplest and most exact form”,[iv] implying that this unassuming purity draws not only from the core of her character but also the essence of her work.
Decapitated dummies and geometric gazes, partitioned puppets and fissured frocks: Taeuber’s design creations are at once violently fragmented and neatly rearranged. Her distinctive style incorporates jagged lines and contrasting colours, yet retains a calm unity in its systematic geometry. Taeuber’s dancing and choreography, teamed with the use of her own costume creations, blurred the boundary of body and art: colours, movement, lines and textiles interact as equals in the realm of her expression. But this smooth crossover of art and life also frequently reminds us of the synthetic relationship between mask and ‘truth’. This paper will scrutinise manifestations of the fragmented self across Taeuber’s Dada Heads (1918-1920), her King Stag puppets (1918) for an adaptation of Carlo Gozzi’s play of the same name (originally 1762), and her dance and costumes,[v] exposing the assemblage of identity in all its wrappings, surfaces and fragments.
Dada Heads
Taeuber’s Dada Heads are a series of coloured sculptures in turned wood, of which we will consider two here: Dada Head, Portrait of Hans Arp (1918), and Dada Head (1920). Despite their titular depiction as ‘heads’, on first glance the pair bears more resemblance to a set of unorthodox hat stands.[vi] Each at under twenty-five centimetres tall (including their chunky bases), these diminutive sculptures have the look of dolls or puppets, with simple, neat features and very little extending from the core shape. The Heads’bases add to the performative doll metaphor, shaped inward towards the middle like an hourglass, as if to be held or played with, and through this inviting movement. The pair lack obvious, traditional gender markers, and there is only one sign of a momentary break with this fluid androgyny: the 1920 Head’s alignment with femininity through its “accessories”[vii] composed of wire and beads. Through this unique sign, along with its resemblance to Portrait of Hans Arp (Arp was Taeuber’s husband), we may consider this Head to represent a portrait of Taeuber herself. This remains faithful, however, to Dada’s rejection of mimetic portraiture as we cannot see either as bearing any ‘real’ resemblance to the Taeuber-Arps.
The Heads retain an overall ‘normal’ positioning of facial features – one eye on each side and a large, straight nose down the middle of the face – yet the surfaces are made up of geometric, coloured fragments. This could be a comment on the re-arrangeablilty of the wartime body and the hybrid identity obtained by the additive or re-combining nature of the choice of non-human appendages.[viii] However, despite the presence and positioning of their eyes and noses, the heads still lack ears. Is the Dada head deaf to the world around it, or is it just blocking it out? When teamed with the lack of mouths, can we regard this to signify an expression of a silent scream in the vacuum of explosive Europe? We can consider the lack of mouths to signify the confinement of emotions, aligning with Munch’s Scream (1893), which is described as “no longer an aural event, but something synaesthetically felt and recognized in nature and communicated as a vague unlocated sensation moving through the entire body”.[ix] Munch’s character can at least open its mouth; the mouths of the Dada Heads are sealed, mute, in “silent alterity”.[x] Additionally, with no bodies to carry the scream’s resonance, the cry of the Heads is concentrated in, and confined to, its source. This is particularly poignant if we consider wartime Zürich’s locked-in position in continental Europe, but also in terms of rejection of language, something which Hugo Ball considered to be one of the problems of modern civilisation.[xi]
The frowning features of Portrait of Hans Arp (1918) emphasise the inherent rebellion in Dada thought. Lacking lids, the fixed open eyes boldly stare directly at the viewer in static provocation, inviting more questions than they answer. In contrast, Dada Head (1920) has pale, unseeing eyes, one of which is upside down, and both blend into the geometric arrangement of the head’s features in a blank or unreadable expression. The depiction of the Heads as isolated appendages goes beyond the foregrounding of the face in dualist portraiture. Rather, their representation as heads impaled on spikes highlights the process of the severance of parts, reminding us of those mutilated by the war and the feeling of being violently ‘cut off’ that must have been prevalent in neutral Zurich, surrounded on all sides by belligerent nations. Furthermore, this element of decapitation is reminiscent of Dada adherent Aragon’s statement that “[a]t the heart of our projects there was always the gleam of the guillotine”.[xii] The heads also lack hair, perhaps a Freudian reference to castration,[xiii] though shorter hair was fashionable as a sign of independence among women at the time (Taeuber, Höch and Hennings themselves all wore bobs), and it does seem truly Dada to remove it entirely when we consider the movement’s constant desire for tabula rasa. Without hair or bodies, the Heads are exposed and raw, but also boldly new and autonomous, not dependent on limbs or attachments to transmit their message.
Not only do the Heads function as severed parts, but the faces themselves are also similarly mutilated as fragmented masks. They are divided into shapes, varyingly symmetrical, but always disrupted: a constant reminder of the wartime gueules cassées.[xiv] They are displaced and distorted, yet somehow held together in gory fixity. Most of the surface is smooth, which gives an eerie blending of fragmentation, but which also serves to emphasise the long, bony noses and wiry ‘accessories’, which are attached directly to the head as if references to violent and gratuitous ornamentation. Beyond a comment on the brutality of war, these sculptures present an altered manifestation of a (de)constructed self, one that is at once provocative and highly expressive. Like Munch’s synaesthetic scream, the gesture is both reactionary and a source of creation. This could be seen to capture an “expressive agency that is not only not restricted to language but whose process takes precedence over its operations,”[xv] through the assemblage of the self as gesture. The scream’s cross-sensory expression can also be viewed in terms of chromatic ambiguity: Taeuber’s non-natural use of colour disrupts expectation in a way so strikingly unique as to imitate the synaesthete’s private realm of perception.
Taeuber’s expressionistic use of shape and colour presents fragments that are subdued in tone, yet gain boldness from juxtaposition and lack of blending or shading. It has been suggested that the geometric features of the Dada Heads “point to a liberation from reality which, in addition to their humorous stylistic qualities, can be considered a pertinent Dada feature”.[xvi] The systematic disposal of sense, rules and tradition that Dada unleashed on the world is evident through this engagement with aesthetic freedom. In shape, they clearly represent heads, but the faces, “the anatomical region which we use to measure identities against one another”,[xvii] are unlike any conventional presentation of the human visage. Is this Dada’s rejection of, or dismissal of the possibility of, the ‘measuring of identity’? Is the destruction of normalcy the only route to freedom of the individual?
King StagPuppets
In contrast to Taeuber’s static Dada Heads are her 1918 marionettes, which were designed for an adaptation of Carlo Gozzi’s ‘The King Stag’. The play itself revolves around conflicting amorous connections and characters vying for power, expedited by magical means of deception.[xviii] Taeuber’s puppets are assembled from cones and cylinders, many reminiscent of cotton reels, perhaps a link back to her work in textiles, or perhaps a link to Dada’s child-like qualities, through the creative use of unexpected materials, including the playful incorporation of ‘rubbish’ into their works. Although they are wooden like the Heads, the puppets exhibit a certain fluidity in their multi-jointed movement. Fellow Dada adherent Richter described them as moving “with a grace not of this earth”:[xix] not being subject to gravity allows them a far greater capacity for agility and unrestrained leaping than the human dancer. As Fell describes, “[t]heir abstract configuration combines Laban’s geometric dance principles, the black humour of Dada and the mechanics of textile production.”[xx] This unique interdisciplinarity allows the artist to “investigate the total removal of the human subject or body”.[xxi] Consequently identity is allowed to function and be explored as an object to be manipulated, not only representing but also constructing identity through the intentionality of the artistic gesture.
The puppets have been likened to a group of insects, from the striped, bee-like Dr Komplex to the spider-like Military Guards, as well as the segmented bodies of most of the puppets.[xxii] This lends the characters a sinister, ‘creepy crawly’ quality, as well as the association with the foreign, microscopic world of insect life. We could also associate these Kafkaesque transformations with the prosthetics seen so widely on war victims, and which we saw on the Dada Heads. Almost entirely constructed from articulated appendages, the puppets form assemblages of identity “whose properties emerge from the interactions between parts,”[xxiii] retaining an eerie and unnatural movement, not to mention the ghost-like capacity of their ‘flight’. Though their main structural material is wood, they depend on the tiny metal links between the segments to maintain their swinging motions. In this way, their movements are simultaneously limp and precisely controlled. The puppets are liberated from human concerns (gravity, normal distribution of joints), but are still constrained to passively respond to another’s force.
Like the Dada Heads, the puppets are hairless, although they all wear hats: a statement that appears to signify relative social standing. Golden headwear, with its clear regal connotations, ranges from the King’s slightly unconventional crown, and the Stag’s golden antlers, to the high intellectual status of Freud and Dr Komplex, and Tartaglia, the King’s prime minister. Within this set there is variation between the intricacies of the royal headwear, and the simple, smaller ornamentation of the political or psychological powers. Angela and Truffaldino, on the other hand, wear plain, coloured hats, but have alternative signifiers, their tulle and feather attachments denoting a different kind of social role. Angela’s adornment alludes to her status as King Deramo’s future bride, most obviously through the use of the colour white, but also in that tulle is a common fabric in wedding dresses.[xxiv] Truffaldino’s feathers give a clear reference to his profession of birdcatcher. He also appears to have two hands per arm, which we can presume to be an advantage in his line of work, or which could perhaps indicate a link between his character and his name, which literally means ‘swindler’ in its original Italian.
The puppets’ variable heights seem to denote the importance of the individual characters. However, the King remains only second tallest of the group, with Freud in the lead. We could see this as a statement that although the King is powerful, he is not as knowledgeable as the psychoanalyst; and of course, knowledge is power. Additionally, while Freud’s height is almost entirely bodily, the King gains significant centimetres through his ornate headpiece. In this respect the King only gains power by his label; Freud is, literally, the embodiment of power. Perhaps created as a humorous addition to the parody of psychoanalysis, Taeuber’s character of Dr Komplex is not only the smallest, but also the widest of the ‘human’ characters.[xxv] Along with his bright bee-stripes, his rotund form fits neatly into the role of comic sidekick. It is significant and instructive that the Dada interpretation chooses to substitute Gozzi’s magician and apprentice with Freud and Dr Komplex,[xxvi] replacing magical scheming with contemporary psychological manipulation. Furthermore, the use of a play whose plot centres around deception, masks and disguise projects Dada’s love of play and façade through the spontaneous momentum of its performative roots in the Cabaret Voltaire.
These characters mimic and mock contemporary psychologists in Dada’s typical rejection of grand narratives and systems such as psychoanalysis.[xxvii] For instance, at Tartaglia’s most important moment he is attributed the line “Kill me, kill me. I have not analysed myself and can’t stand it anymore!”.[xxviii] This parody of mental states and treatments foregrounds Dada’s attachment to states of madness as reactions to trauma. Several members had avoided conscription through feigning madness, and consequently it could be said that they came to identify with this mental state, where it seemed to them that it was the world itself that had gone mad. Additionally, the ability, through the puppets, to create these creatures while remaining hidden behind the strings allows the artist to take an outside view of his or her own identity. As Hemus points out, “[i]deologically, the use of puppets questions agency and authorship, foregrounding questions about the artist’s role, as well as about self-determination more broadly.”[xxix] We can connect this to the puppets’ embodiment of the cabaret performance style: by acting out roles and constructing a façade as a new assemblage for artistic expression, the performer-as-puppet projects and enacts a deliberate blurring of truth, reality, current self and potential self. As “kinetic” or “participatory” art,[xxx] Taeuber’s puppets dissolve the boundary between art and the artist, embracing a carnivalesque play between the reality of the artist and the concept of the character, versus the concept of the artist and the concrete art work. This is embodied in a contradiction between the apparent ultimate freedom of the puppet which is nevertheless controlled by its strings.
Dance and Costumes
Miss S. Taeuber: delirious eccentricity in the spider of the hand vibrates rhythm rapidly rising towards the climax of a capricious facetious beautiful dementia.
 – Tristan Tzara[xxxi]
Lastly let us turn to Taeuber’s dance and costume design. Unfortunately, most of her work in these areas has been lost, or was not recordable. One of the reasons for the lack of documentation of her work is the objections made by the Zurich School of Applied Arts, where she taught, for her involvement with a group like Dada; a connection which was considered inappropriate due to the movement’s disorderly and provocative nature. The little that we know is through accounts from fellow Dadas, and photographs, the latter of which few remain. Both of these types of records are problematic to process with any objective certainty: Dada accounts are known for fabrication (as well as a distinct lack of documentation of female participants), and it is often (deliberately) difficult to identify the dancer behind the mask, especially when records rely on the aforementioned Dada accounts.
Fellow Dada Marcel Janco describes Taeuber’s performance style as “jerky and syncopated expressions exactly like the chords of good jazz or the restrained and dignified sadness of American blues”.[xxxii] We can see in Janco’s depiction a presentation of Taeuber’s movement as reproducing the improvised (yet structured) excitement of jazz[xxxiii] and the expressive lilt of blues. However, she danced not only to music but also alone in silence – as was Laban’s style –[xxxiv] and to poetry read by Dadas at the raucous soirées. Taeuber’s experience as a dancer proves an influence across her art: a certain grace and flow in her fabric constructions, as well as a movement in the puppets that mimicked, if not enhanced, her “hundred-jointed” gestures and “fantastic movements”.[xxxv] Ball “implies that she made herself into a puppet”,[xxxvi] an object manipulated at will by the poet and the gong beat(er). The dance is then not only influenced by the expression of the dancer, but also interprets the medium of vocalised poetry and the simultaneously percussive and enharmonic qualities of the gong.[xxxvii] It is this constant multi-directional flow of influence that makes Taeuber’s work so interesting both artistically and philosophically. It remains difficult to tell which, if any, was her primary art form, and her interdisciplinarity lends itself to Dada’s preference for constantly evolving, hybrid identities.
Taeuber’s dancing is inextricably linked to her costumes, which have further been tied to Janco’s Dada masks and the ludic performances and antics of the Cabaret Voltaire:
"Taeuber’s dances, as she acted out the spirit of the mask, generated real excitement with their sharp, absurd angles and jagged aggression, recreating the energy of the primitive and soaring towards apparent delirium."[xxxviii]
Ball’s accounts detail that the masks themselves seemed to demand costumes,[xxxix] and we can see elements of these masks in the rare photographs of Taeuber’s dancing. In one, Taeuber wears a costume designed by Arp, with a mask by Janco. The jagged costume mirrors the sharp, bold edges of the mask, and both display a collection of shards of material. The arm tubes, while in some ways restricting the motion of the elbows and wrists, impose a different kind of movement on the dancer. Freest at the shoulder, the arm loses some of its hinging motions and regains a pendular swinging action reminiscent of the puppets with their metal links. Although the arms are still able to bend, they are made heavier and more imposing on their lower ends, finished off with menacing claws. The bodily wrappings give the impression of a collage of rags, and in this photo the legs are left in the dark, their invisibility lending itself to a floating, “abstract, guignolesque dance”[xl] shared with the puppets. These elements composite to suggest a whirling, ragtime play of colour, form and sound: a constant tension between playful fragmentation and immaculate structure which can be seen across Taeuber’s work.
Unlike the ragged splinters of Janco’s mask, Taeuber’s own masks recall some of the geometric shapes and colours[xli] of the Dada Heads. Like Janco’s, they are larger than a human head, but instead of the elongated facial mask which sits on the surface of the face, her box-like creations appear to entirely encompass the head. Additionally, they appear to be made from fabric, unlike Janco’s use of paper and cardboard. Taeuber’s then retain a certain fluidity from head to body: where Janco and Arp’s mask/costume combination gives the impression of a fragmented collage of jagged shards, Taeuber’s full costume represents a systematic unity within its division into geometric shapes. Arp’s costume to go with Janco’s mask looks improvised, whereas the full costume is composed and structured with the normal seams and hems expected from clothing. It is notable that Taeuber was compelled to mask her participation in Dada events, both physically through costume, and by taking on a pseudonym because of disapproval from her employer, the Zurich School of Applied Arts. For Taeuber, then, constricted by her links to teaching to mask her participation, a new freedom is gained from this relationship to façade. Through Dada’s fluctuating relationship with masks and the truth, we are reminded that ordinarily, we see a mask and expect to be deceived. However sometimes, what you see is what you get. As expressed by Freud in his Jewish joke,[xlii] the truth can often effectively be hidden in plain sight. Or as Žižek states, “[m]an alone is capable of deceiving by means of truth itself. […] Only man can deceive by feigning to deceive.”[xliii]
Taeuber’s work and life remain under-explored as, historically, she has been neglected due to her gender, as well as the relative lack of documentation of her life and work. Zurich was not considered an artistic centre during her lifespan, and Taeuber’s obligation to stay there – due to her teaching commitments – through most of her career means that she has remained somewhat in the shadows. Although later studies by Hemus and Sawelson-Gorse have attempted to reinsert her as a figure of importance in the European Avant-Garde, she generally remains confined to texts dedicated to the ‘women of Dada’, rather than as an artist irrespective of her biological gender. While excellent textual analysis has been carried out on several of her works, there remains space for more in-depth work on individual pieces within her œuvre. Equally, recent interest in her works has not broached theoretical or ideological concerns, nor has it approached Taeuber’s art in relation to identity. This paper has begun to address these latter opportunities in the hope of opening up the scope of such a prolific artist, as well as her impact within Dada. In a broader sense, the analysis of Dada as an alternative artistic identity highlights the continued relevance of the movement and updates its theoretical and philosophical implications, beyond its place on the shelf of art history.
Through the analysis of a selection of Taeuber’s art, we find a unique and distinctive interdisciplinarity where artistic media are treated as part of an organic whole. As incorporative of so many techniques (and we must remember that Dada was only one of Taeuber’s many commitments, both in terms of profession and artistic movements), Taeuber’s œuvre proposes a full expressive possibility through art. This multi-directional flow simultaneously reminds us of, and allows – or provokes – us to question, notions of mask as self and self as mask. In the work we have assessed here, emphasis is put on this relationship: behind every face is another, fragments are neatly arranged yet the cracks remain highlighted. Realist portraiture is rejected in favour of collages of abstract fragments. ‘Free’ movement is ever dependent on chain links, yet this in turn allows for the extension of normal human capacities of motion. Clothing is reflective of faces, giving the human form a blurred boundary between surface wrapping and body. These aspects could be said to stem from Dada’s constant tension between the desire to destroy, and the desire to create anew. In Taeuber, we see this tension converted into hybridity and individuality, a manifestation of the constantly evolving selfhood of the avant-garde both as artist and movement, through the construction of an “emergent subjectivity as an assemblage that may become complexified as persons become parts of larger assemblages.”[xliv]
It has been argued that Taeuber’s contributions to Dada show a blending of art and life that presented “an image of the body as a fluid screen, capable of reflecting back a present constantly undergoing redefinition and transformation”.[xlv] I propose an extension of this bodily metaphor, through Taeuber’s Dada Heads and puppets, to present Dada as allowing identity to functionas a fluid screen,for the projection of multiple or hybrid identities, where the surface is not always the real face, and where the mask and the face can become one. Fragments or aspects of identity can be collaged and layered to reflect genuine individual choice, a self-assembled self-image. When identity is malleable, the individual can always remain authentic in themselves, building and remodelling at will as an expression of the self in flux.
[i] Manuel De Landa, New Philosophy of Society: Assemblage Theory and Social Complexity, Continuum, London; New York, 2006, p.12. Kindle Edition.
[ii] In Hans Richter, Dada Art and Anti-Art (London: Thames and Hudson), 1965, pp. 45-6; 70. Translated from the German by David Britt.
[iii] Notable exceptions include Ruth Hemus’s chapter on Taeuber in her 2009 monograph Dada’s Women (Yale University Press, New Haven, CT; London), and Roswitha Mair’s biographical Von ihren Träumen sprach sie nie: Das Leben der Künstlerin Sophie Taeuber-Arp (Herder, Freiburg, 1998). The latter, however, has a self-confessed reliance on authorial fabrication.
[iv] Richter, p. 46.
[v] Images for these examples can be found in Leah Dickerman, Dada: Zurich, Berlin, Hannover, Cologne, New York, Paris (New York: National Gallery of Art, 2005).
[vi] Naomi Sawelson Gorse, Women in Dada: essays on sex, gender, and identity, MIT, Cambridge, MA; London, 1999,p. 536
[vii] Hemus, p. 59.
[viii] We are reminded of Otto Dix’s depictions of ‘war cripples’, and the Dada preoccupation with the aesthetic of the (especially mechanical) prosthetic.
[ix] Reinhold Heller, Munch: The Scream (London: Allen Lane, 1973), p. 87.
[x] Mark A. Pegrum, Challenging Modernity: Dada between Modern and Postmodern (New York & Oxford: Berghahn), 2000, p. 115.
[xi] See Hugo Ball, Flight out of Time, Ann Raimes (trans.) (New York: The Viking Press, 1974), pp. 70, 76.
[xii] Louis Aragon in George Baker, ‘The Artwork Caught by the Tail’. October, Vol. 97, Summer 2001, p. 53.
[xiii] We will see that this link to psychoanalysis can be read in a mocking tone when scrutinising Taeuber’s puppets and the play for which they were created.
[xiv] Literally, ‘broken faces’.
[xv] Brian Massumi, A Shock to Thought: Expression after Deleuze and Guattari (London & New York: Routledge, 2005), p. xxi. Elibrary Edition.
[xvi] Sawelson-Gorse, p. 535.
[xvii] Elmer Peterson ed., Paris Dada: the Barbarians Storm the Gates, (New Haven & New York: Gale Group, 2001), p. 286.
[xviii] See Carlo Gozzi, ‘The King Stag’, in Five Tales for the Theatre,Albert Bermel and Ted Emery (eds. & trans.), (Chicago and London The University of Chicago Press, 1989), pp. 75-124.
[xix] Hans Richter in Robert Motherwell ed., The Dada Painters and Poets: an Anthology (Cambridge: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1989).
[xx] Jill Fell, ‘Sophie Taeuber: The Masked Dada Dancer’, Forum for Modern Language Studies, Vol. 35, No. 3, p. 271.
[xxi] Hemus, p. 61.
[xxii] Klaus Minges, ‘Staatsbildende Insekten: Sophie Taeubers Marionetten zu “König Hirsch” im Museum Bellerive Zürich’, 1996, accessed 07.05.2012:
[xxiii] De Landa, p. 5.
[xxiv] Sawelson-Gorse argues that this use of fabric suggests a scopophilic reference (p. 535). I am inclined to disagree, since the body underneath is already clothed, insofar as the puppets’ bodies are painted, with no bare wood visible. The body and clothing are one. Taeuber’s attachments then play a positive associative role, as small, extra indications of character. I would also argue that although Dada’s approach can be read to support Sawelson-Gorse’s interpretation, Taeuber’s individual work, and character do not necessarily lend themselves to it. In some respects, applying a translucent fabric over an opaque, block version of the same (or similar) colour serves to amplify colour and texture, rather than encourage a penetrating gaze. This is particularly so since the latter would be more effectively evoked by the use of contrasting colour.
[xxv] This width is only outdone by the robot-like Guards, who are made up of multiple heads, legs and arms on a single body, forming a monstrous conglomerate reminiscent of the gargantuan Geryon.
[xxvi] Sawelson-Gorse, p. 534.
[xxvii] Tzara explicitly condemns psychoanalysis, stating that “[p]sychoanalysis is a dangerous disease, numbing man’s anti-real inclinations and systematising the bourgeoisie”. In Tristan Tzara, ‘Dada Manifesto 1918’, in Dada, No. 3, 1918, p. 2. Own translation.
[xxviii] Dickerman, p. 31.
[xxix] Hemus, p. 62.
[xxx] Gustaf Almenberg, Notes on Participatory art: Toward a Manifesto Differentiating it from Open Work, Interactive Art and Relational Art (Milton Keynes: Author House UK, 2010), p. 54 [Kindle Edition]. Almenberg points out that as Participatory Art, Dada works such as Taeuber’s also had a significant impact on the audience, taking away the role of “passive spectator” and replacing it with an “intended provoke” (p. 55).
[xxxi] In Dada, No. 1, July 1917, p.16.
[xxxii] Janco in Fell, p. 278.
[xxxiii] It is instructive that Janco chooses to align Taeuber with the chords of jazz, perhaps the most structured element underneath the mellifluous solo part(s).
[xxxiv] For Laban and music, see Vera Maletić, Body, Space, Expression: the Development of Rudolf Laban’s Movement and Dance Concepts (Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter, 1987), p. 160.
[xxxv] Ball, p. 102.
[xxxvi] Fell, p. 278.
[xxxvii] Because gongs are enharmonic, they produce the whole spectrum of pitches simultaneously. In this respect perhaps they offer a ‘hundred-jointed’ gesture of their own.
[xxxviii] Fell, p. 283.
[xxxix] Ball, p. 64.
[xl] Fell, p. 271.
[xli] Though photographs of these costumes are in black and white format, Taeuber’s sketches indicate that the masks were designed to continue both the patterns and the colours of the costumes. See for example Karin Schick, Oliver Kornhoff and Astrid von Asten eds., Bewegung und Gleichgewicht/Movement and Balance: Sophie Taeuber-Arp 1889-1943, (ex. cat.), (Davos: Kirchner Museum with Kerber Art, 2009), pp. 38-9.
[xlii] “Two Jews meet in a train at a Galician railway station. “Where are you traveling?” asked one.”To Cracow,” was the reply. “Now see here, what a liar you are!” said the first one, bristling. “When you say that you are traveling to Cracow, you really wish me to believe that you are traveling to Lemberg. Well, but I am sure that you are really traveling to Cracow, so why lie about it?”” In Sigmund Freud, Wit and its Relation to the Unconscious, A.A. Brill (trans.), (London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner, 1922), p. 172.
[xliii] Slavoj Žižek Looking Awry: An Introduction to Jacques Lacan through Popular
Culture(Cambridge: MIT Press, 1992), p. 73. Original emphasis.
[xliv] De Landa, p. 33-34.
[xlv] Whitney Chadwick, Women, Art and Society (London: Thames and Hudson, 1996), p. 257.