Huelsenbeck was born in Frankenau, Germany in 1892.
He joined the Caberet Voltaire as a result of his friend Hugo Ball. He annoyed the public in a way rivalled only by Tzara, Huelsenbeck annoyed the world with his 'school boy insolence' - he was a loud, noisy upstart and delighted in irritating people.
Huelsenbeck was more prolific a writer than an artist, he was obsessed
with Negro rhythms - his public readins of poetry were usually accompanied
by a large tomtom drum. Ball said that Huelsenbeck would like to "drum
literiture into the ground."
Huelsenbeck came to Berlin in 1917 and found a war weary city riddled with corruption. He promptly denounced his Dada colleagues and said that to have any relevance in Germany Dada must be stronger and even mre provocative than in Zurich - it must be ready to 'make literature with a gun'. He joined with other artists Franz Jung, George Grosz, Raoul Hausmann and Johannes Baader who declared himself 'super-dada'. Together they founded the 'Christ & Co. Ltd.' and stormed the Weimar Diet and threw down leaflets declaring themselves rulers of the Globe.
Huelsenbeck and the others created the Club Dada in Berlin which began
to flourish and was soon a rival of the Paris Dada movement. Huelsenbeck
was a forceful personality and Berlin Dada revolved around him, he was
the most political of the Dadas and saw his art as a political weapon.
For him Dada was an artistic wing of Marxism.
If anyone wanted entry to Club Dada they first had to be approved by Huelsenbeck - and Huelsenbeck was hard to please, he often took a disliking to people for no good reason, for example he refused membership to Kurt Schwitters on the grounds of his 'borgeois face'.
The work of Huelsenbeck is angry, political and bleak, he was the true
spirit of Berlin Dada and it was only natural that he antagonised the Paris
Dadas who were far more theatrical and far less political than he.
The best summing up of Richard Huelsenbeck is in his 1916 poem 'The End Of The World':
This is what things have come to in this world
The cows sit on the telegraph poles and play chess
The cockatoo under the skirts of the Spanish dancer
Sings as sadly as a headquaters bugler and the cannon lament all day
That is the lavender landscape Herr Mayer was talking about
when he lost his eye
Only the fire department can drive the nightmare from the drawing-
room bur all the hoses are broken
Ah yes Sonya they all take the celluloid doll for a changeling
and shout: God save the King
The whole Monist Club is gathered on the steamship Meyerbeer
But only the pilot has any conception of high C
I pull the anatomical atlas out of my toe
a serious study begins
Have you seen the fish that have been standing in front of the
opera in cutaways
for the last two days and nights...?
Ah ah ye great devils - ah ah ye keepers of bees and commandments
With a bow wow wow with a bow woe woe who does today not know
what our Father Homer wrote
I hold peace and war in my toga but I'll take a cherry flip
Today nobody knows whether he was tomorrow
They beat time with a coffin lid
If somebody had the nerve to rip the tail feathers
out of the trolley car it's a great age
The professors of zoology gather in the medows
With the palms of their hands they turn back the rainbows
the great magician sats the tomatoes on his forehead
Again thou hauntest castle and grounds
The roebuck whistles the stallion bounds
(And this is how the world is this is all that's ahead of us).
Credit for this page goes to: mailto:T.J.Church@ex.ac.uk
Visit His Dada Page At: http://www.ex.ac.uk/drama/dada/index.html