On Saturday March 25, it was the opening of Dadaclub.online: the Exhibition: the result of a wider project conceived by the Link Art Center, Brescia, to promote the creative reuse of digital copies of original Dada works. Thanks to the collaboration with the private collection Collezione Campiani – which owns over 100 Dada artworks – a series of international artists translated their contemporary interpretation of Dada into online contributions, showcased on the website www.dadaclub.online.
The display at Spazio Contemporanea, Brescia, presents these new, digital works alongside a selection of the original pieces, courtesy of Collezione Campiani.
We spoke with the curator of the project, Fabio Paris (Co-founder and Managing Director, Link Art Center) to elaborate on the salient aspects of Dadaclub.online.
Miriam La Rosa: When was Dadaclub.online borne? And what was its main objective?
Fabio Paris: Around the end of 2015, I introduced my partners at Link Art Center to the idea of an online exhibition to celebrate the centenary of the Dada movement, which was established in Zurich on the 5th of February 1917. We immediately began to discuss which form this could take. Our perspectives converged around one main idea: our homage to Dada should have developed upon the elements of continuity between the avant-garde we admired from afar, and that we had the pleasure to live personally; between the vanguard that responded to the beginning of modernity and the industrial revolution, and that which is currently facing the consequences of the Information age and its impact on art languages. Keywords such as collage, remix, creative reuse, appropriation, sharing, irony, iconoclasm began to emerge and shape the conceptual backbone of the project. In other words, we wanted to take Dadaism out of the dust of archives, revitalising it by means of the same irreverent abuse exercised by the main protagonists of the movement itself, at the beginning of the 20th century. This implied tackling the world of objects, the notion of artistic translation, and the photographic documentation of the real.
MLR: How did the collaboration with Collezione Campiani unfold? To what extent did the collector get involved with the project, and how open was he to share otherwise private materials, such as the high-resolution images of his artworks?
FP: To put the project in practice, we needed an alley. It was easy to find it in Collezione Campiani. Very few collectors, both public and private, have the open-minded approach to make available, in high-resolution, the digital scans of a consistent part of their collections – especially if the use of these copies is not educational, but oriented towards explicit manipulation and beyond any copyright limitations. Once we received a positive answer from Piero Cavellini, the collector, the rest developed very organically. The Campiani Collection is the biggest representation of Dada in Italy, including 121 works by artists from the movement. We selected those, which seemed to show the highest potential for reutilisation, and shared their digital copies – 21 photographs, 12 magazine covers, 3 3D scans – on the website Dadaclub.online, appositely devised for the project. In parallel, we thought of whom to involve in this preliminary stage and, almost in unison, we agreed on the name of Vuk Ćosić. Other than being one of the pioneers of net.art, Vuk is a passionate lover of both Dada and Surrealism. In a 1997 interview, he declared: ‘We are the ideal sons of Duchamp.’
MLR: The participation in the project was open to a wide community of artists. How would you describe the relationship between artist and curator in this project, where the idea of ‘selection’ is complementary to the value of ‘inclusion’?
FP: We did not put any kind of limitations on the artists. We really wanted to respect the Dada spirit. Everyone had to be free to choose the work that most suited them, to then re-elaborate it. We retained a degree of editorial control, excluding only a very small number of contributions, which we considered uncompleted. In order to ensure quality, we established a Monthly Feature to share content especially selected by the curatorial team. The rest of the works were, and still are, visible on the Gallery section of the website. To a certain extent, the relationship between artist and curator came to overlap, as the notion of original and copy intertwined throughout the whole project.
MLR: What was the most challenging thing to realise? What the most satisfactory result?
FP: The amazing thing about Dadaclub.online is that the reason behind both our preoccupation and success happened to coincide. In fact, the unknown variable was: how many artists would have positively reacted to the project; how many of them would have taken part in it? We were expecting a drop of contributions by mid of the year. On the contrary, this did not occur and we ended up with the surprise – hence our great satisfaction! – of a total of 148 digital artworks shared on the website.
Miriam La Rosa
The submission process, on the Dadaclub.online website, closed on the 5th of February 2017 to coincide with the end of the Dada centenary. Dadaclub.online: the Exhibition is on display at Spazio Contemporanea, Brescia, until the 15th of April 2017, whereas an abstract of the show will travel to Galerie Charlot, Paris.
Featured image: Kiki.obj (2017), Gif made from 3d animation. Based on Magazine Covers: DADA PHONE Paris, March 1920; 391 New York, N.3, Club Dada Berlin, 1918; New York Dada New York, April 1921; Cannibale Paris, 25 May 1920; Die Schammade Köln, February 1920; DER ZELTWEG Zürich, November 1919, Claudia Hart
All images courtesy of http://dadaclub.online