Cut with the Kitchen Knife through the Raw Future of 100 Years Before Spațiu INTACT, Cluj Napoca, 10 May – 28 August 2016
Artists: Guy Ben-Ner, Luchezar Boyadjiev, Paul Buck, Anetta Mona Chişa & Lucia Tkáčová, Ivars Gravlejs, Yoshua Okón, Larissa Sansour, W. Mark Sutherland, Kenneth Tin-Kin Hung
Misappropriating the title of Hannah Höch’s iconic Dada photomontage, the exhibition Cut with the Kitchen Knife through the Raw Future of 100 Years Before aimed to show that Dada is as sharp as a knife with two blades today, able to cut through the dense layers of power, mainstream media and institutions and expose their methods of domination in order to foster change. It sought to examine how artists engage with the present-day’s raw contradictions, intensities and inconsistencies, 100 years after Dada redefined the very idea of art, offering the first joyous yet no-nonsense dogma for its release and true freedom. Last but not least, it aimed to probe how Dadaism has become part of almost every artist’s practice and how it re-emerges, uncompromised, equipped for the 21st century, when it can claim both fidelity to its original defiance and serve as a still-living collection of usable and adjustable techniques – chance procedures, collage, photomontage, readymades, cacophony, appropriation, culture jamming, pastiche and pranks.
Wildly open to misinterpretation, the exhibition featured artists who decided to take matters into their own hands, although the notion of responsibility in art remains debatable and contingent. Encompassing video, photography, documented performance, installation, sculpture, posters and text, their works invited visitors to take a Dada break from the burnout society and reflect on autonomy, resistance, audacity, invention, utopia or else. The reward was 50 Euros to the person who best explained what Dada is and the winner Géza Dabóczi fully deserve it!