Historic Art with Relevance Today.

The Spring Door

     Schwitters in Britain (Tate Britain) is the first major exhibition to examine the late work of Kurt Schwitters, one of the major artists of European Modernism. The exhibition focuses on his British period, from his arrival in Britain as a refugee in 1940 until his death in Cumbria in 1948. Schwitters was forced to flee Germany when his work was condemned as ‘degenerate’ by Germany’s Nazi government and the show traces the impact of exile on his work. It includes over 150 collages, assemblages and sculptures many shown in the UK for the first time in over 30 years.

Chicken and Egg 1946 by Kurt Schwitters 1887-1948Schwitters was a significant figure in European Dadaism who invented the concept of Merz – ‘the combination, for artistic purposes of all conceivable materials’. Whether those materials were string, cotton wool or a pram wheel, Schwitters considered them to be equal with paint. He is best known for his pioneering use of found objects and everyday materials in abstract collage, installation, poetry and performance.

He boarded the last ship to leave the country before Nazi occupation. On arrival at the Scottish port of Leith, he was detained as an enemy alien. He was one of many German exiles, including a significant number of artists, who were interned on the Isle of Man during World War Two.

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2 responses to this post.

  1. Have you read Schwitters’ Merz Fairy Tales? Great little stories.

    Reply

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