Merzbau (Teilansicht: Grosse Gruppe)
um 1932, zerstört (1943)
Foto (Repro): Kurt Schwitters Archiv im
Sprengel Museum Hannover
© Pro Litteris, Zürich
Museum Tinguely: Kurt Schwitters. MERZ Ð a total vision of the world
May 1 - August 22, 2004
[...] Kurt Schwitters is among the outstanding artistic pioneers of the first half of the 20th century. After the First World War he made the provocative statement that "one can use waste material to shout out loud", and from then on he employed everyday materials and objets trouvés in his collages and assemblages. In 1919 he invented his own artistic movement, Merz; the term is taken from the bank name "Kommerz- und Privatbank". From now on he grouped together all aspects of his very varied artistic activities -painting, sculpture, architecture, poetry, drama, typography and happenings -under the heading of Merz.
With his programmatic idea of a "total Merz vision of the world", embracing all areas of life and art, he set an example for the thinking and creative work of many artists of the post-war generation. Together with Marcel Duchamp, Kurt Schwitters was Jean Tinguely's most important artistic role model: "I was ... completely schwittered, Schwitters was my hero," said Tinguely.
At the heart of the exhibition is Schwitters' masterpiece and culmination of his idea of a total art work: the Merzbau (Merz building), a monumental three-dimensional assemblage progressively created from 1923 onwards in the artist's studio and home in Hanover. On display is a walk-in reconstruction of the original Merzbau, which was entirely destroyed in 1943. The reconstruction was built by Peter Bissegger, on the initiative of Harald Szeemann, using original photographs. It is complemented by photographic and textual records, as well as selected reliefs, collages and sculptures from the late 1920s, casting light on the way in which Schwitters was influenced at the time by constructivist tendencies. [...]