Dada is a state of mind. Dada is artistic free thinking. Dada gives itself to nothing. So is Dada defined. So is dada defined…
The work of renowned Hilton Head Island artist Aldwyth will be acknowledged, yet again, by the residency presented to her by the city of Columbia.
The 79-year-old artist is celebrated for her work in bricolage — a French word meaning construction or creation from a diverse range of available things — in sculpture, structure, assemblage or collage. Her collage work will be the subject of an exhibit detailing the preparation of two epic-sized wall collages which will fill a room adjacent to the studio loft at the Center for Contemporary Art at 701 Whaley Street.
At the official opening reception, Jan. 31, visitors will have the opportunity to meet and congratulate Aldwyth, take in her talk on Dadaism, and view her new collage pieces
“I am and have been creating two large wall collage installations in a room joining the Gallery with the purpose of celebrating and marking the 100 years since the very beginning of the Dada Movement in Europe,” said Aldwyth. “That was February 1916.”
During the following months, according to CCA executive director Wim Roefs, there will be lectures and performances relating to Dadaism. Also taking place in that location, several months into the future, are presentations in music, little theater performances, an evening with Jaap Blonk, the foremost sound painter, and with Tim Daisy, well known in the Chicago, percussive jazz scene.
Jan Arp, a major force in the Dada movement of 1916, was quoted as saying when asked why Dadaism? “We were revolted by the butchering of the war, so we devoted ourselves to the arts. While guns rumbled in the distance, we sang, we painted, made collages and wrote poems with all our might.”
Dada was an anti-bourgeois movement to the radical left. It involved the viewer in the interpretation of the work, a new concept toward the appreciation of art. Dada was not simply created and performed by the artist alone. Nor was its creation limited to a short window of opportunity.
The recent death of singer/artist David Bowie reminded us that during the early 1980’s, in one of his several iterations, he reintroduced a brand of Dadaism through his music, his poetry, his off the wall fashion statements and particularly through his video and film work. More than just “Ziggy Stardust,” and “Man Who Fell to Earth,” we now extend our thinking to Bowie”s constant redefinition of his astonishing audio and visual sensibilities . Clearly we all will regard his January 2016 “Black Star” album in a new way.
“The pairing of Aldwyth and her careful collage and assemblage to the celebration of the official opening of the Dada Movement at our gallery was perfect,” said Roefs. “The opening of the exhibit and the very important events that we will offer in the next few months are going to take us to a cutting edge of another accomplishment.”
Combining found items, detritus from natural sources, illustrations from magazines and books and Aldwyth’s clusters of well chosen words in her collages balances the authenticity, experimental, skeptical, regressive, aggressive, approaches we find in the work of the Dadaists. Through it all, we can’t overlook elements of her intellect, her artistic sense of design and her unwavering, sardonic sense of humor.
Dada is dead…long live dada…
Her collages are epically scaled and intricately fashioned. And that Aldwyth provides us with unique, original, breathtaking moments which seem to transport us to a new place. The impact of her work will disturb your calm in a very good way.
Her work has been featured in a critically acclaimed exhibit “Aldwyth: work v./ work n./ Collage and assemblage 1991-2009, at the Halsey Museum in Charleston. She was later designated by the South Carolina Arts Commission in 2015 to receive its highest honor, the Elizabeth O’Neill Verner Award, an award based on life’s work.
“My work is what I do…And I do it for myself.” said Aldwyth. “I am the one who must be satisfied with the results.”
She quoted Bowie: “Everything is rubbish and all rubbish is good.”
“He got that right,” said Aldwyth.