“Bicycle Wheel” by Marcel Duchamp
“Bicycle Wheel” (1913) is a sculpture by Marcel Duchamp of a bike wheel mounted through a stool (Johnson). It looks unnatural, and silly, but that is exactly what dada seems to be about. It doesn’t matter if it seems silly, because it “does not mean anything” (Manifesto, 1918). The idea of a bike wheel and a chair being in the same piece of art could be analyzed to mean something about how bikes are really just mobile chairs, but that isn’t the purpose. Again, it “does not mean anything” (Manifesto). The Manifesto was descriptive of many ideas of dadaism, but overall it seemed to describe dadaism as attempting to “fight the system”, and “question everything”, both vague ideas. The “nihilist” way of thinking that we learned about in class is present, and seems to not be able to find happiness in some current ways of life, like the criticism of “logic” and “morals” (11-12). I understand how dada sometimes came from WWI, “and after life was considered meaningless” (paraphrase from All Quiet on the Western Front), as I learned from All Quiet on the Western Front, and like we discussed in class, so “taking limits away from art in dada”, as two of my high school teachers told me, makes sense. According to Wikipedia, Tzara was not in the war, but “opposed it”.