In a recent interview with Odd Banner, he was asked which art movement he would most closely align with the aims and aesthetics of Forgotten Fish Memory Orchestra. He came up with the term ‘Baroque Dada’. That’s an interesting way to look at it.
The great Jorge Luis Borges once said ‘I would define the baroque as that style which deliberately exhausts (or tries to exhaust) its own possibilities, and borders on self caricature. Wiki seems to think that Baroque came out of the Renaissance in Rome and was characterised by taking the usual elements of Renaissance painting and overloading them, a glut of ornamentation as a counter to the austerity of Protestant art. So there seems to be a consensus that it was about taking an aesthetic to the extreme, beyond measured good taste, an artistic maximalism. Yes, that sounds like Forgotten Fish Memory Orchestra. Although the Tate Gallery in London says of Baroque, it is characterised by dynamism and a realistic approach to depiction.
Realistic? In the case of the Forgotten Fishes, surrealistic might be a better term. Which leads us conveniently to Dadaism. It was the clear antecedent from which Surrealism came. The word Dada means Yes Yes in Romanian, (and some other languages), and rocking horse in French. Obviously the perfect name for those art anarchists. It was highly political. Anti war, anti art and pro culture.
Instead of trying to analyse or define it, here are some random quotes to give you a flavour.
‘In the good times of Dada, we detested polished works, the distracted air of spiritual struggle, the titans, we rejected them with all our being.’ Jean Arp.
‘What’s the matter with everyone wanting to make a museum piece out of Dada? Dada was a bomb. Can you imagine anyone half a century after a bomb explodes wanting to collect the pieces, sticking it back together and exhibiting it?’ Max Ernst.
‘Dada is ‘Nothing’. Marcel Duchamp.
‘Dada doubts everything. Dada is an armadillo.’ Tristan Tzara.
‘Beware of Dada. Anti dadaism is a disease : selfkleptomania, man’s normal condition, is Dada. But the real dadas are against Dadaism.’ Tristan Tzara.
‘Dada kicks you in the behind, and you like it.’ Kurt Schwitters
So it seems that Odd Banner’s aesthetic description is on the money.