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Schwitters in Britain

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by Bryony Harrison (subscribe)
Freelance writer and poet from London; if you would like to read my poetry, please check out my book, 'Poems on the Page', available from
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IMerz Yourself in Art
Schwitters in Britain, tate britain

The fascinating life of Kurt Schwitters is to be told at Tate Britain in the first major exhibition of the artist's late works. Schwitters in Britain will focus on the refugee's period in Britain from 1940 to the time of his death in 1948.

The German was forced into exile by Nazis when his work was was condemned as 'degenerate'. He was a significant figure in European Dadaism and believed that any materials could be combined to create art. For example, Schwitters used anything from string cotton wool or a pram wheel to create abstract collages, and thought they were as equally good as paint. This concept, which he invented is called 'Merz'.

After escaping Germany, Schwitters was sent to an internment camp on the Isle of Man, where he and other artists gave poetry performances. When released in 1941 he became involved with the London art scene.

The Tate exhibition will showcase over 150 collages, assemblages and sculptures focussing on Merz art, and includes such pieces as The Skittle Picture (1921), and Untitled (1942), which was assembled out of bus tickets, newspapers, and Bassetts Liquorice Allsorts wrappers. There are also many talks and lectures scheduled:

Curator's Tour: Schwitters in Britain
Friday 8th February 2013, 6.30pm 8.30pm, 15

Visual Description Tour: Schwitters in Britain
Monday 18th February 2013, 11.00am 12.30pm, Free

Curator's Talk: Schwitters in Britain
Friday 1st March 2013, 6.30pm 8.30pm, 15

British Sign Language tour: Schwitters in Britain
Friday 15th March 2013, 7.00 8.00, Free

Music and Live Performance: Late at Tate Britain
Friday 5th April 2013, 6.00pm 10.00pm, Free
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Why? Interesting for art lovers
When: 30th Jan - 12th May
Phone: 44 (0)20 7887 8888
Where: Tate Britain
Cost: Free exhibit, 15 talk & tour
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