Collage & Kurt Schwitters
Art Skill - Collage
Art History - Kurt Schwitters and Dada Art
Kurt Schwitters was a German artist who created art during an art movement called “Dada.” The Dada art movement began as a reaction to World War I and was influenced by Expressionism and Cubism. The focus of the movement was to create art in unconventional ways, to make art that challenged viewers to think about traditional concepts of artistic beauty. For example, the Dada artist Marcel Duchamp created “readymade” art from a bicycle wheel and even a rack used for drying bottles.
Schwitters combined materials to create collage art, and even used trash he found on the streets after the war to make art, including scraps of paper and broken items. He transformed objects that were considered “throw-aways” by society into beautiful collages, gluing together paper and incorporating different objects in interesting ways.
Schwitters inspires us to think about the process and materials we are using to create art in a unique way. He called his own process a made-up word called “Merz.” In his Merz Picture 32 A. The Cherry Picture, he included scraps from the streets of the city Hanover, Germany, glue, nails, and a small notecard picture of cherries. Why might he have included these specific items? How might you combine different papers, paints, and glue to reveal a work of art that comes together as a collage? Think about what interesting connections you could make between objects. Try using the different scraps of paper, paint, other perhaps other found objects to create your own collage. Have fun with the process and materials!
"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; and this is Merz. It was like a revolution within me, not as it was, but as it should have been." – Kurt Schwitters