The Museum of Avant-garde

Tristan Tzara

Romania (1896—1963)
Born in Romania to a Jewish family, Tzara moved to Bucarest to attend a boarding school. Here he became friends with Janco and Vinea and with them he worked on the Simbolul journal. In 1915 his parents decided to send him to Zurich to study philosophy. Here he rejoined with Janco and attended the opening of Cabaret Voltaire. In 1918 Tzara recited the Manifeste Dada 1918 and in the same year he published Dada 3, which gave him international recognition. In 1920 he decided to move to Paris and joined André Breton circle of artists, while being the editor of Dada and publishing Sept Manifests Dada. He often contributed to Breton’s Littérature magazine and put up shows and life performances meant to surprise and shock the audience. Frictions between Tzara and Breton and Picabia ultimately caused the break of the movement during the Gas Heart play. Breton and Tzara only reconciled in 1929, at which point Breton had already written his Surrealism manifest. In 1935 during Spanish Civil War he went to the front but with the Nazis gaining power he had to abandon Paris and hide in South France. He remained involved in politics and openly criticised the Soviet invasion in Hungary and the Franch government policy with colonies.