Dada was an international movement among European artists and writers between 1915 and 1922, characterised by a spirit of anarchic revolt. It revelled in absurdity, and emphasised the role of the unpredictable in artistic creation.

The Dada movement began in Zurich, in neutral Switzerland, during the First World War. It can be seen as a reaction by artists to what they saw as the unprecedented horror and folly of the war. They felt it called into question every aspect, including its art, of the society capable of starting and then prolonging it. Their aim was to destroy traditional values in art and to create a new art to replace the old.

Dada became an international movement and eventually formed the basis of Surrealism and later Pop Art. Leading artists associated with it include Jean Arp, Marcel Duchamp, Francis Picabia, George Grosz and, Otto Dix. Duchamp's questioning of the fundamentals of Western art with works such as ‘Fountain’ (simply a urinal with the artists signature on it) has a profound and continued influence on art and cuture.