1887-1948 German painter, sculptor, writer, architect and Typographer.
He began in Cubism, went to Dada Movement. He mainly worked in two media: constructions and collage. Very fond of using found objects in his work.
He also wrote the simultaneous poems or sound poetry that were performed in the Cabaret Voltaire by Hugo Ball and Tristan Tzara. Examples:
In 1918 he founded the Dada group in Hanover Germany. In that city he practiced an early example of Installation Art when he built the MERZbau, a walk through installation of wood and plaster. An early form of assemblage art. It was subsequently destroyed by allied bombing in 1943. He was significantly less radical than the Cologne group, which included Richard Huelsenbeck and Raul Hausmann. In fact, at some point they came out openly against him.
In 1919, he produced his first major poem, "Anna Blume" which is a Dada classic.
In 1920, due to his differences with other Dada artists, he was not invited to the Berlin exhibition.
As Dada was coming to an end, Kurt needed another word to signify what he did. He chose the word "Merz" which, as he pointed out, had no meaning. He proceeded to apply this prefix onto many other forms that he was working in. For example he wrote thousands of Merzpoems.
From 1923-1932 he published a magazine called "Merz" in which he published his poems and art.
In 1926, after a trip to Prague, he began work on his Ursonate which he performed throughout Europe for years afterward.
Artists associated with Schwitters:
Motherwell, Robert "The Dada Painters and Poets: An Anthology", Harvard University Press, 1951
Rubin, William S., "Dada, Surrealism, and Their Heritage", Musem of Modern Art, NY, 1968.
Last Updated 02.26.04