Kurt Schwitters is a German painter, sculptor, typographer and writer born in Hanover in 1887. He is best known for creating his own form of Dada (an art movement formed during the First World War in Zurich. It was a negative reaction to the horrors and folly of the war.) in Hanover called ‘Merz’ in 1918. In his creations he uses rubbish materials including labels, bus tickets and bits of broken wood.
In 1920 he was the first ever person to have a one-man exhibition held at the Galerie Der Sturm, Berlin. In 1923 he began to build fantastic Merz constructions in his house in Hanover (the first ‘Merzbau’). He worked on the Merzbau from until 1937, when he fled to Norway, escaping the threat of Nazi Germany. In 1943 he was exiled and Merzbau was destroyed in a bombing raid.
In 2012 Elisabeth Thomas wrote an article for MoMA stating ‘Merzbau was not just a static painting or a sculpture, but a whole environment, and one that was in constant flux.’ It was never in the same state for a prolonged period of time, changing each day. ‘Photographs can’t quite capture the Merzbau‘s expanding and shifting nature.’
Schwitters work can be seen at the Tate. More information can be found here: