05. August - 07. November 2016 Berlinische Galerie, Museum for Modern Art


Dialogue with the Other

2016 is the centenary of DADA. With their broad spectrum of new formats and aesthetic strategies, the Dadaists were a major influence on the course of 20th-century art. To mark this jubilee, the Berlinische Galerie is breaking new ground with an exhibition about responses to Dada outside Europe. This is a partnership with the Museum Rietberg in Zurich, a leading German-language institution in the field of non-European art.

About 120 works from collections in Germany and abroad will be presented in five sections. Dadaist works engage in a direct dialogue with artefacts from Africa, Asia and Oceania. The show reveals how much the Dadaists looked to art beyond Europe in formulating their new aesthetic departures. Dadaists the art of foreign cultures had the additional appeal of conveying a cogent alternative to their own outdated society. As they delved deeper, they uncovered artistic tools that would lend themselves to social and political protest.

The DADA paintings and masks of Marcel Janco, for example, were influenced by artefacts from Cameroon. Sophie Taeuber-Arp, for her part, was struck by the expressive power of indigenous works from North America and Southern Africa. Tristan Tzara took literary cues for his 'Poèmes nègres' from African and Australian texts, while Hugo Ball borrowed input from Oceania for his richly creative use of materials. DADA’s revolutionary attack on traditional notions of art and culture in the early 20th century laid the groundwork even then for new ways of seeing the Other. In this respect, the exhibition 'DADA Africa' is a contribution from the museum community to the current debate, about the presentation of cultures whose roots lie elsewhere.

The exhibition has been designed by david saik studio an is held under the auspices of His Excellency Dr. Otto Lampe, Ambassador for the Federal Republic of Germany in Switzerland and Liechtenstein, and Her Excellency Christine Schraner Burgener, Swiss Ambassador in the Federal Republic of Germany. During the exhibition, from August 5 to November 7, the museum is presenting a series of events and workshops dealing with the topic of Dadaism in Africa.

Furthermore, during two months, the Berlinische Galerie will make one of its exhibition spaces available to children, teenagers and families for an artistic, critical, contemporary exploration of art. 'Dada is here!', in partnership with the youth education group 'Jugend im Museum', picks up the principle of dialogue at 'Dada Africa' and adds probing public debate. The workshop for dialogue and experiments will focus on ways of doing things and leave the outcomes open. Visitors play an active part in the museum by learning in a spirit of discovery, experimenting with the transfer of knowledge and sharing in exhibition processes.

'Dada is here!' is a space for unexpected discoveries. For anyone keen to dig deeper into the exhibition in their own way, the project room provides action cards, tactile models, sample materials and pens. Visitors, children and adults alike, are invited to leave their personal comments on the Mental Map, and to watch films or have a conversation in the Lounge. . The space can be used by anyone interested during the regular museum opening times.

The museum also offers tactile tours to make the exhibition’s content accessible for blind and partially sighted visitors. Tactile models have been developed for five of the exhibition’s exhibits to give visitors the opportunity to discover them with multiple senses. The haptic models and collages give a palpable impression of the features and materials of an artwork. Every model is unique and has been designed especially for the exhibition. The 3D-model of a Iefem figurine of the Bangwa culture, for example, is combined with a tactile model of a graphic by Dadaist Marcel Janco to describe the introduction of African language of forms into European art at the beginning of the 20tz century. In a public tactile tour on September 18, blind and sighted visitors are invited to discover the haptic exhibition.


Opening hours:

Wednesday–Monday 10 am–6 pm
Tuesday closed






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