FLIGHT OUT OF TIME: A Dada Diary by Hugo Ball


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A diary that is fragmentary, subjective, often opaque, presenting the image of a man talking to himself, justifying himself, bending reality into the shape of his own capabilities -- but the only key to this public man. Hugo Ball, aesthete, poet, socialist, monk, and one of the founders along with Arp, Janco, Tzara and Huelsenbeck (for a review of his memoirs see below) of Dada in Zurich, 1916. The cradle of Dadaism was Bali's own Cabaret Voltaire (Voltaire represents the Enlightenment's anti-Christ, the arch-enemy of romanticism) and yet his involvement with this seminal movement of modern art was short-lived. His vivid descriptions of the wild performances, including programs of the evenings, are exciting and revelatory but comprise little of the diary. The author, who chose the infamous name of the group with the help of Huelsenbeck, was thinking not of a French hobbyhorse or a sign of affirmation but of the Pauline Dionysius the Areopagite: ""I was called upon twice by Dionysius. D.A. -- D.A."" Despite his interest in a total art of pictures, music, dance, poems, his greater commitment was theological and moral. What an odd sort of founder for modern iconoclasm this devout Catholic, sometime disciple of Nietzsche and Bakunin, author of Zur Kritik der deutschen Intelligenz and of an early appreciation of friend Hermann Hesse, seems to be. But the contradictions and fertility of his imagination mirror the Zeitgeist of German humanism from which Expressionist-related theories of art developed. Editor Elderfield also includes a foreword to the 1946 edition by cabaret-performer Emmy Hennings, Ball's wife, a lecture on Kandinsky whom Ball regarded as his aesthetic ""priest,"" and the original ""Dada Manifesto."" An invaluable source for art historians and cultural critics.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1974
ISBN: 0520204409
Publisher: Viking