collage, fabric, paper and photography on paper
20,2 x 16,2 cm (8 x 6 3/8 in.)
Away from the Berlin Dada movement, Kurt Schwitters founded an almost entirely autonomous artistic concept in his hometown of Hanover, which in retrospect points prophetically to subsequent generations of artists and artist movements. Collage and assemblage play the most important role in Schwitters' oeuvre, steadily encompassing the period from 1919-1948. Hardly any material has not been used in his work. Kurt Schwitters, whose artistic career began conservatively and academically based on the principles of the 19th century, crossed the border to modernism by arriving at a completely abstract and non-objective form of artistic expression. Collage became the form of expression per se for him, the obsessive collector. Everything he found, on the street or in the trash, in newspapers and advertisements, simultaneously took its way into his art, sometimes eloquently standing on its own or in conjunction with oil painting. Collage as a compelling and only relevant artistic expression in a post-war broken world implies the picking up of the shards and their subsequent rearrangement also in a figurative social context. The principle of collage has been included in the canon of artistic possibilities since Picasso as a form of expression worthy of a image; but the uncompromising use of the materials comes to bear for the first time in this radical consequence. Only the least of Schwitters' works are iconographically unambiguous. In most of his collages and “Merzbilder” he leaves only single words, often only their fragments, without a decipherable context, simply as a reference to a reality outside the picture's own. Information is abbreviated or abruptly interrupted, remains recognizable as a compositional element or comes before the composition. In any case, the viewer first enters the pictorial reality through the automated, but mostly meaningless reading process, which was by no means left to chance. The picture represents a well thought-out mesh of colours, forms, images and writing. Writing is often only secondarily - if at all - the carrier of information, but rather a formative attribute an elementary form in the overall structure of the composition. Similar to Marcel Duchamp, Schwitters is also considered an artist for artists, whose work reveals a tremendous aesthetic potential that continues to have a recognizable effect today. In a concise way, this fact is underlined by the remarkable statement of Edward Ruscha, who said in 1998: "Without Schwitters nobody of us".