DADA’S WOMEN – ONE IMAGINARY EXHIBITION (Theatrical installation)

The DAH Theatre, Serbia

Direction and concept: Dijana Milošević

Actors: Evgenija Eškina  Kovačević , Aleksandra Jelić,  Ivana Milenović Popović, Ivana Milovanović, Ivan Nikolić

Musicians: Nemanja Ajdačić, Uglješa Majdevac

Set design: Neša Paripović

Costume design and make-up: Snežana Arnautović, DAH Teatar

Ready-made suitcases: Evgenija Eškina  Kovačević, Aleksandra Jelić,  Ivana Milenović Popović, Ivana Milovanović, Ivan Nikolić

Light design: Milomir Dimitrijević

Organization and PR: Nataša Novaković

Photo: Una Škandro

Special thanks to:  The Cultural Centre of Belgrade, Snežana Arnautović, Neša Paripović, Shira Wolfe

Duration: 55 minutes

Last and this year mark the centenary of the DADA movement, the anti-war avant-garde art movement. Worldwide, artists have been paying homage to this important art movement, through different exhibitions, performances, installations, educational and interactive events. However, female artists, who were extremely important and who played a major role in the DADA movement, have been severely underrepresented in these celebrations as well as in the DADA movement in general.

Dadaism was created in the wake of WWI out of the need of artists to stand against war and violence. This critical mass of creative people founded an explosive movement that was opposing the structure of society then. As an art movement, Dadaism speaks to us in a special way today, when we see so many similarities with that time: conflicts around the world, the migrant crisis, horrifying poverty. In political climate today, artists need to find the ways of creative engagement that would oppose the systems of violence such as misogyny, wars, the terror of profit. The only platform of Dadaism was that there was no platform and it was that courageous statement that gave the power to the movement, which spread in all directions, liberated from aesthetic and social limitations. On the other hand, it was possible that the very refusal of Dadaism to have any platform resulted in the fact that Dadaism never addressed issues such as patriarchy.

The women artists of Dadaism created along with their male colleagues and pioneered in establishing some concepts in art.

It is necessary to search for different interpretations that will give a more complete idea of Dadaism and offer the interpretation of the movement based on a more accurate history, where female and male artists had equal roles.

The DAH Theatre is the only professional and experimental theatre group in Serbia that has been active and created nationally and internationally for over 20 years.

History

In 1991, directors Jadranka Anđelić and Dijana Milošević formed the DAH Theatre out of a need for profound experimental work. Actress Maja Mitić joined the group from the beginning. In 2003 the DAH Theatre enlarged its activities by founding the DAH Theatre Research Centre (DTRC) to deliver an ongoing programme of workshops, lectures, seminars, guest performances and festivals. In 2008 actress Ivana Milenović Popović joined the theatre.

DTRC is a venue that has grown into a significant spot on the cultural and artistic map of Belgrade and Serbia. The work of the Centre is aimed towards a constant exchange of knowledge, experience and ideas amongst artists and participants from various theatrical and national traditions.

In the last two decades, through their work, the members of the DAH Theatre have strongly opposed war and violence.

In 1991, when the war started in Yugoslavia, the DAH Theatre immediately had to face these questions: “What is the role and meaning of theatre? What are the responsibilities and duties of artists in times of darkness, violence and human suffering?” The group decided to interrupt their work on the performance “Gifts of Our Ancestors” to begin work on a new piece that could provide them with the answers to these questions. The Dah’s first performance “This Babylonian Confusion” was based on the songs of Bertold Brecht. An anti-war performance; it was presented outdoors in the centre of Belgrade at a time when it was forbidden to even mention the war.

“The establishment of the DAH Theatre and its cry of creation coincided with the fall of ex-Yugoslavia and the general destruction that followed. Theatre directors Jadranka Anđelic and Dijana Milošević, together with actress Maja Mitić, decided, perhaps subconsciously, to oppose the destruction with creation, to create, in the midst of their world falling apart, a microcosm of theatre.” – Dubravka Knezević (“Till the Last Breath”, SCENA no. 5/6, Sept/Dec 1995)

Throughout time, great theatre masters have said that the first steps of a theatre group determine its destiny. This performance has absolutely determined the destiny of the DAH Theatre, forming the main postulates of its practice. The themes through which the DAH Theatre expresses its poetics are always connected to the position of an individual in dark times and history.