Kurt Schwitters (right) with Edith Thomas and Bill Pierce at Cylinders Farm, Ambleside, UK, ca. 1947.


“Schwitters In Britain”

Tate Britain
January 30–May 12, 2013

Curated by Emma Chambers and Karin Orchard

We all know the Merzbau—the multiroom environment created by the Hannover Dadaist Kurt Schwitters in the decade before his 1937 flight from Germany—but how many of us are familiar with the Merz Barn, the artist’s continuation of this seminal project, begun in England’s Lake District just months before his death in 1948? This and other little-known work from Schwitters’s final decade, including more than 150 collages, assemblages, and sculptures made during his English exile, will be the focus of “Schwitters in Britain,” which opens at the end of the month. Supporting himself through the sale of Sunday paintings, the artist nevertheless remained committed throughout these years to the practice of collage, utilizing both natural and man-made materials from his new surroundings. Tate Britain’s presentation, which will also feature contributions by contemporary artists exploring his legacy, promises a new perspective on this multifaceted—and multinational—artist.