Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Merzman

the reconstructed Merzbau at the Sprengel Museum , Hannover, 2011.
the Merzbarn, Elterwater, October, 2011.

the Merzbarn wall, at the Hatton Gallery Newcastle on Tyne, 2011.

Been working on a new radio documentary about Kurt Schwitters, the German artist who died in the Lake District in 1948. He called his art Merz, and the word could apply to anything he made, from painting to montage to sculpture to sound poems. He even changed his middle name to Merz, so he was his own artwork. His most important pieces were his Merzbau - live-in, walk-in environments he constructed from all sorts of materials he collected, first in his house in Hannover, and then, after the Nazis forced him to flee Germany in the late 1930s, in Norway - and finally, in a barn in Elterwater, near Ambleside. This Merzbarn was unfinished at the time of Schwitters' death, and its one complete wall was later removed, partly due to the efforts of the British pop artist Richard Hamilton, and taken to the Hatton Gallery, Newcastle. Despite this fragmentation, the Merzbarn is the only surviving example of Schwitters' original Merzbau works anywhere, the others having been destroyed. The programme, Merzman: The Art of Kurt Schwitters, is transmitted on Monday, January 9, 2012, at 4.00pm.

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