In 1958, surrealism, the Beat Generation, and a decade of civil war in Colombia distilled itself into the Nadaist movement – a rejection of Colombian government, literature, religion, and orthodoxy.

XalD [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Nadaism (the name is a play, of course, on Dadaism) was the brainchild of the poet Gonzalo Arango. Not that this was a work of an individual – many artists joined, and Arango himself rejected the notion of individual genius in the First Nadaist Manifesto:

The artist has been considered as a being closer to the gods than to man. Sometimes as a symbol that fluctuates between holiness or madness.

We want to claim the artist by saying that he is a man, a simple man with nothing to separate him from the human condition common to other human beings. And that only distinguishes itself from others by virtue of its office and the specific elements with which it makes its destiny.

We affirm our disbelief in genius. The artist is no genius. He is a privileged being with certain exceptional and mysterious qualities with which nature endowed him. In the artist there is Satanism, strange forces of biology, and conscious efforts of creation through emotional intuitions or experiences of the history of thought.

[That’s a Google translation of the Spanish original, by the way; I cannot find an English translation online.]

I like this, because it agrees with the idea of scenius I wrote about in the post on Pizza Island.

The nadaists rejected many of Colombia’s traditional authorities, and were especially scathing towards the government and the Catholic Church. They burned Colombian literature in public, and generally promoted a kind of nihilistic “nothing-ism” that owed a lot to existentialism, futurism, and surrealism – although Arango rejected those ancestors too. And he eventually repudiated Nadaism as well, before dying in a car crash in 1976.

One Reply to “Nadaism”

  1. I’m not sure if I can rely by email but right now it’s the quickest so. This reminds me of (shelley?) who called poets the unacknowledged legislators of the world.

    Arrogant upper class ponce! Imho


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