Avant-Garde Art / Wk 1 / DADA

In exploring the role of chance in the DADA movement, I focused on Kurt Schwitters’s collages: Revolving (1919) Blauer Vogel (1922) and his home Merzbau. Schwitters was best known for coining the name Merz which came from the German word Kommerz (commerce), a word he found by chance while creating a collage.  As a response to the aftermaths of  World War I, which ended in 1918, Schwitters said, “In the war, things were in terrible turmoil. What I had learned at the academy was of no use to me and the useful new ideas were still unready…. Everything had broken down and new things had to be made out of the fragments.” His collages were abstractions to make sense of the world around him. Throughout his life, he was constantly picking up the fragments of broken pieces and rebuilding as evident in his home, Merzbau. The original site of Merzbau in Hancover, Germany was destroyed in a Alied bomb raid during WWII, but he rebuilds version of the Merzbau at different locations of where he lived in exile during the war.

Revolving (1919) | Kurt Schwitters


Blauer Vogel (1922)  | Kurt Schwitters


Merzbau (1933)  | Kurt Schwitters | Photo: Wilhelm Redemann, 1933 © DACS 2007