The photographs which were published in 1933 were of the 'constructivist' phase of the Merzbau. And in this highly symbolic activity, he perfectly expressed the Dadaist concept that art could be made of anything, although unlike most Dada artists he was as his building activities suggest a creator rather than a critic - positive, not negative. Footnotes will appear in a new window. Schwitters fled north when Nazi troops invaded Norway in April 1940 and procured a passage on an ice-breaker carrying members of the Norwegian government to England. Von dort aus wuchs der Merzbaus weister, gleichzeitig enstehen Ableger auch an anderen Stelle.
He was the practical and poetic magician. These tendencies, coupled with several earnest autobiographical explanations that were at the time radical for their self-exposure, contribute to the rather odd mosaic one is confronted with when viewing the labyrinthine nature of his overall development. This incident is also cited in Webster, p. Barbara Miller Lane discusses the general conditions surrounding Hitler's policies on art and architecture in her book Architecture and Politics in Germany 1918-1945 Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1985 , pp. Indeed, with each successive generation of artists the individuals and movements that purport to bear Schwitters's influence expands. Attempts to unveil the numerous themes which underscore the Merzbau must therefore take into account not only Schwitters' statements and the multiple fragments of visitors to the project, but the literary and visual works that parallel its development.
However, Schwitters' own artistic development lagged somewhat behind many of his peers, the result of his being situated primarily in Hannover rather than Berlin, Munich, Cologne, or Paris , as well as the fact that he was a member of the petit-bourgeosie of Hannover and therefore inherently conservative in outlook. Even a cursory review of the literary content of the Merzbau reveals allusions to alchemy, mysticism, hermeticism and romanticism. In architecture, the project has been afforded the same talismanic status as Mies van der Rohe's Barcelona Pavilion and Frank Lloyd Wright's Larkin Building in Buffalo. This is particularly true in the case of modern art criticism, which has conformed almost entirely to the language and ideology of formalist analysis. Neither anecdotal evidence nor the record of Schwitters' own statements regarding the Merzbau, however useful, can in and of themselves afford meaningfully insight into the project.
A continuation of the Dada-Constructivist Congress in Weimar 1922 , this particular performance was essentially the grand finale of the Dada movement, at least in Germany. Ernst's paintings are discussed at some length in William A. He has held research fellowships at the universities of Oxford. While Schall's text is a more general account of the influences of Nietzsche's works on German art during the early part of the twentieth-century, she does provide a compelling account of Schwitters' Dada-Merz work pp. The first reproductions of the piece appeared in the magazine G, published by Hans Richter, Mies van der Rohe, and Werner Graeff no.
The artist is best known for his pioneering use of found objects and everyday materials in his abstract collages, installations, poems and performances. The notion of a Merzkunstwerk is an obvious play on the Romantic-Expressionist notion of a Gesamtkunstwerk Total work of art , an idea that originates with Richard Wagner and continues to inform the imagination of German artists and architects throughout the course of the early- and, in some cases, mid-twentieth century. Dada Schwitters made contact with Zurich Dada in May 1919 and his work was published in Der Zeltweg, the final Zurich Dada publication. This incident is also cited in Webster, p. Later, in the same letter to the Spengemann's, the project is described as extensive and can almost be re-imagined as limitless.
While the degenerate and difficult conditions of his internment resulted in extensive physical and emotional scars, the war and subsequent exile from Germany left him destitute and disoriented in the most literal sense. See Werner Schmalenbach, Kurt Schwitters New York: Harry N. I get the idea of being absent because we are constantly negotiating between eye and body. The most complicated and enigmatic of his projects, Schwitters' Merzbau mirrors the artist's fitful attempts to negotiate a path through the miasma of his work and life. Eventually, these parallel pursuits became interwoven in Schwitters' artistic universe, evidenced by his dual doctrines of Formung and Entformung roughly 'forming' and 'deforming'. The actual form and contents of Kurt Schwitters' Hannover Merzbau remain somewhat of a mystery still today.
The literal residence of Schwitters' experience, as well as a primary site of his artistic meditations, the construction did not represent a plan or project in the traditional sense, having no beginning or end. There exist meanwhile some reconstructions of at least large parts of the original space. David Britt New York: Harry N. To make it, the artist drew in ink onto a piece of pre-printed paper which he took from the printing works that he frequented in his capacity as a designer. While the Merzbau can indeed be viewed as a latent critique of the alienating conditions of modern technological culture both Elger's and Dietrich's work fall into this category its alternative title, Die Kathedrale des erotischen Elends The Cathedral of Erotic Misery or KdeE, suggests the possibility of additional interpretations. Since the reconstruction depends almost entirely on photographs taken at least seven years after the initial inception of the project, it does not - indeed cannot - incorporate the materials and artifacts that make up the core, or heart, of the Merzbau. The original diagrams are contained in the Stadtarchiv Hannover.
But from there he has a chance to signal for his rescue. The original quotation is contained in Sibyl Moholy-Nagy's book on her husband entitled Moholy-Nagy. German art circles from 1945 on were mainly concerned with rediscovering the Expressionists. This is clearly the case with Schwitters, who, despite highly publicized exhibitions and the appropriation of his works in support of various movements and individuals, remains marginal to the recognized project of modernism. Nonetheless, it is clear that he included many more artists than he excluded. Several of these installations were certainly familiar to Schwitters, in particular those by Lissitsky and a fellow German artist, Erich Buchholz. The extent of his promotional endeavors suggests that Schwitters was of an uncommon, if ironic, practical bent and, as such, perhaps unmatched among his peers in terms of his business acumen.
Until recently, nearly all art criticism has relied on formal categories. Ironically, Schwitters' challenge to all ideologies, his preference for the dynamic over the static and his promotion of art in the context of the everyday environment would prove him to be a more authentic and dedicated supporter of radical Dadaist ideas than almost any other artist of his era. Further reading John Elderfield, Kurt Schwitters, London 1985. Even today, one of the most critical problems in approaching Schwitters' project lay not with the work itself, but with the terms that have been used to discuss the work. Modernism's insistence on abstraction and on the way to arrive at it, by stripping the medium of its unnecessary or impure elements, had to result in a very rarified idea of an artwork as a thing of extreme clarity, physical elegance, balance, intelligence and perfection. Das abwesende Kunstwerk ist uns oft näher als das gegenwärtige.
Virtually unknown in art circles excepting the United States , Schwitters died in England on the 8th of January 1948. I would now request you on behalf of Herr S. His son, Ernst, had also been in jeopardy for some time and had left Hannover via Hamburg for Oslo in the early hours of 26 December 1936, thereby preceding his father's immigration by several days. Freedom is not lack of restraint, but the product of strict artistic discipline. Thus, he could include artists as diverse as Mondrian, Van Doesburg, Hannah Höch, El Lissitzky, Raoul Haussman, Tristan Tzara, and Hans Arp, while at the same time excluding those individuals he felt were corrupted by extrinsic agendas such as Richard Huelsenbeck. In 1921 he became friendly with 1883-1931 , the Dutch abstract painter, art theorist and founder of , and the two artists toured Holland in the same year, promoting the Dada anti-art movement. In diesem Sinne sind wir nicht da.