Merzen

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Schwitters:
‘The ultimate total Merzwork…distinguished by fusion of all factors (even people..) into a total work of art’.

The term ‘Merz’ is an invention of Schwitters. He had once come across a torn fragment of paper with the word ‘merz’ on it (‘merz’ was actually part of the phrase ‘Commerz und Privatbank’) and thereafter ‘Merz’ evolved into a vision.
The ‘Merz’ concept is fundamental to Schwitters’ work. Through it he defines his way of working which consists of the assembling collages from mostly unassuming but not always unsightly ‘found’ objects and loose elements: fragments of paper, cardboard, etc. which are pasted next to and over each other.

‘Merzen’ is the creation of Merz images, Merz poetry, Merz sounds, etc.

He used the word ‘Merzbau’ or ‘Merz building’ to describe the monumental assemblages which he created. These constructions reflected his special interest in architecture. He was the master of the throwaway and he worked from the environment around him. His constructions changed in character depending on the materials he found.

"....And there are stories told of a weird structure of broken furniture, linoleum, even porridge, in the broken window of a house on the Isle of Man in 1940, where he was interned for a short while."
"....Doubtless there must have been others."

6

1.Kurt Schwitters, Untitled, 1929
2.Kurt Schwitters, bipartite collage, study for Ambleside, 1947
3.
Merz, edited by Kurt Schwitters and El Lissitzky, no. 8/9 Hanover, April-July 1924, cover
4.Kurt Schwitters. Protected with yellow artificial bone, 1941,'45,'47
5.Merzbau, reconstruction, Sprengelmuseum Hanover.
6.Kurt Schwitters. Heavy relief, 1945