This page is about Spring Soup Dada event 2018 & a little introduction to Dada art movement

Right to left: Sonia Allori and Audrey O’Brien, Spring Soup Dada, 2018. Audrey holding up sketchbook from 1997 signifying her introduction to Dada in Limerick School of Art & Design, Ireland.

Spring Soup Dada event celebrated artists who contributed to the Dada Movement. Initiated by artist Audrey O’Brien, whose practice and research has been heavily influenced by the Dadaist spirit.  O’Brien’s particular interest in Dada performance led her to composer, Sonia Allori, who performed new music inspired by Dada’s Women.

About the Event

So what is Dada?


Dada to me is two things at the same time..

Primordial & Modern,

Curious & Lost,

Democratic & Systematic

Everything & Nothing!


I really like how art critic Gabrielle Buffet describes the movement. Play a little snippet in french below


[Image Planet]. (2012, Feb 18). Dada introduction [Digitised from Videotape]. Retrieved from


It is at the same time, very easy and very difficult to explain. 

She continues..

The way to go about it was to discuss the most serious questions in an absurd manner or as a joke.

I looked at 5 Dadaists for this event Céline Arnauld, Emmy Hennings, Hannah Höch, Sophie Taeuber and Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven

My research material: Dada’s Women by Ruth Hemus Archive: Scottish National Gallery Museum Archive

Just to give a short description of how Dada began, play a sound bite from a radio series, called Manifesto… Martin Putner

Political Dada, Manifesto!, Series 1, 2017 BBC Radio 4. 8 August 2017. 13:45

Emmy Hennings was co-founder of the cabaret, in Zurich. Emmy was a poet, performer, collaborator and a networker. Sophie Taeuber performed in the cabaret. she was a designer, painter, performer, dancer, collaborator, editor. 

Dada was a cross national movement. Hannah Hoch was based in Germany where she & others invented the Photomontage, with Berlin Dada Group. She was an artist, designer. Celine Arnauld was involved in Paris Dada Celine, writer, poet, editor and Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven was German born who lived and worked in New York. The Baroness was artist, poet, performer.

So why did I do this event?

It is practice research in helping me to retracing how these artists were interested in people, life and society.

This is of interest to me because I work mainly in educational and community contexts and would like to further explore and share these artists work with people outside the general art arena. 

How did I encounter Dada?

20 years ago at Limerick Art School in Ireland a visiting tutor introduced me to Dada 

Tristan Tzara’s dada poem in 1997

I only realised a few years ago that introduction really influenced my practice. In terms of

Co-authorship, challenging use of materials, use of chance, disorder and symbolic vandalism.

2016 was the Dada centenary  

I ran an event for high school pupils and realised in getting material ready I had neglected women in Dada.

I promised myself to spend time in researching Dadaists I less knew.

I was recommended Dada’s Women by Ruth Hemus.

I was so pleased that she had digged into archives, read and reviewed literature, translated and basically done all the hard work for me.  

Ruth’s approach: reading from her introduction

was to highlight, read and reappraise the work of five women, to bring out the impact of gender on their participation and interventions, and to challenge and stretch perceptions of Dada.

Hemus wrote on Emmy Hennings, Hannah Hoch, Sophie Taeuber, Suzanne Duchamp, Celine Arnauld.

On reading her book I realised some of the reasons why I had not known much of women in Dada

Women do not fare well in most Dada histories


•many of the women were involved in personal relationships with the men in the group and generally referred to as the partner.

•many of the best-known accounts of Dada were and remain, those written by the male Dadaists themselves.

•unfortunately for researchers many women left few accounts of their own interventions…

This left me wondering, how differently might my practice been influenced by Dada if I was more aware of these artists interventions and techniques? 

Society is structured to force us to follow end paths such as exams, employment, consumerism and organised leisure. 

So I feel a regular dose of dada is needed to balance this!

Which led me Sonia… I found her by reading a blog linked to Dada’s Women performance, she was living and working in Scotland so I just had to meet her and I was even more delighted when she agreed to come and perform at Spring Soup Dada.

In a conversation with Sonia …

I think that’s why Dada resonates with me, because you have the serious connotation and the highly developed ridiculous!

Skype chat, 2018
Ruth Hemus, impromptu performance-reading of Céline Arnauld’s poem Avertisseur