Dada and Surrealism were two revolutionary art movements, which emerged in response to the events and ideas of the early twentieth century. Dada characterized by found objects and works made according to the laws of chance, was anarchic and anti art. In part a reaction to the senseless destruction of the war, it questioned all accepted values. Surrealism in contrast, was more a defined movement, which evolved in 1920’s as artist and writers took Sigmund Freud’s concept of the unconscious to undermine traditional conventions. By use of such techniques such as automatism, artist sought to represent in concrete terms the imagery of dream and fantasy. The difference between the dada and surrealist movements can be seen through the artwork of such artist as Marcel duchamp, Salvador dali, Jean Arp and Joan Miro.
Dada has often been called nihilistic, for its declared purpose was indeed to make clear to the public that all established values, moral or aesthetic, had been made meaningless by the catastrophe of the war. One of the central figures of the Dada movement was Marcel Duchamp who pushed anti art to it’s furthest limits. Duchamp mocked traditional established art by taking everyday objects and presented them as art objects calling them “ready mades”. Duchamp’s ready mades first brought controversy when he submitted a urinal turned on it’s side, to an exhibition as a piece of sculpture, he titled it “Fountain” and signed it R.Mutt. This idea made a mockery of traditional art and also bought about the question of “what is art”. What duchamp intended to say that art meant nothing any more, that chance had as much meaning and more sense than the art of a rotten society. Other ready-mades which conveyed duchamp attitudes towards society is "Bicycle Wheel".
Duchamp deconstructed a bicycle, and attached it to an artist's studio stool. These everyday objects juxtaposed together to reflect how his world was changing