I have noted here previously an association with the wonderful digitalDIZZY net label. They have released two of my musical pieces and have been kind enough to include my schizzle on two of their great compilations.
Well there’s another one forthcoming which I’m more than happy to get behind. Please forgive the following copy and paste content, but I hope you’ll get the point.
“Kurt Hermann Eduard Karl Julius Schwitters (20 June 1887 – 8 January 1948) was a German artist who was born in Hanover, Germany.
Schwitters worked in several genres and media, including Dada, Constructivism, Surrealism, poetry, sound, painting, sculpture, graphic design, typography, and what came to be known as installation art. He is most famous for his collages, called Merz Pictures.”
For my part, having an interest in graphic design, collage, printmaking and surrealism, I took quite an liking in his work when at art school.
“Schwitters first visited the Lake District on holiday with Edith Thomas in September 1942. He moved there permanently on 26 June 1945, to 2 Gale Crescent Ambleside. However, after another stroke in February of the following year and further illness, he and Edith moved to a more easily accessible house at 4 Millans Park.
During his time in Ambleside Schwitters created a sequence of proto-pop art pictures, such as For Käte, 1947, after the encouragement from his friend, Käte Steinitz. Having emigrated to the United States in 1936, Steinitz sent Schwitters letters describing life in the emerging consumer society, and wrapped the letters in pages of comics to give a flavour of the new world, which she encouraged Schwitters to ‘Merz’.
In March 1947, Schwitters decided to recreate the Merzbau and found a suitable location in a barn at Cylinders Farm, Elterwater, which was owned by Harry Pierce, whose portrait Schwitters had been commissioned to paint. Having been forced by a lack of other income to paint portraits and popularist landscape pictures suitable for sale to the local residents and tourists, Schwitters received notification shortly before his 60th birthday that he had been awarded a £1,000 fellowship to be transferred to him via the Museum of Modern Art in New York in order to enable him to repair or re-create his previous Merz constructions in Germany or Norway. Instead he used it for the “Merzbarn” in Elterwater. Schwitters worked on the Merzbarn daily, travelling the five miles between his home and the barn, except for when illness kept him away. On 7 January 1948 he received the news that he had been granted British citizenship. The following day, on 8 January, Schwitters died from acute pulmonary edema and myocarditis, in Kendal Hospital.”
The Elterwater Merzbarn is at the centre of this project.
This from Merz Barn Langdale
“The Merz Barn project is an outstanding contribution to the understanding of contemporary art, not only in this country but in the world-art context. It has taken great care and work to bring this to fruition. It speaks enormously well of Cumbria and of us as a nation, and will undoubtedly be a focus of interest for decades to come. To think that it will crumble away for the sake of a modest grant speaks very badly of the Arts Council’s priorities, especially in the more remote parts of England. I do hope this will be reconsidered.” Email from Lord Bragg, 10.6.14
The Merz barn building still stands much as Schwitters left it in 1948. Located in a remote woodland in the heart of the Langdale valley in Cumbria, NW England it serves as a symbolic connection and poignant memorial to the spirit and tenacity of the artist who worked there. This project is about the recovery, documentation and restoration of Kurt Schwitters‘ last Merzbau project; the Elterwater Merz Barn, and the international fundraising campaign that is intended to pay for vital restoration work and sustain the development of the project in the longer term.
This brings us directly to the project. This from ‘Merz Funder‘
“Over the past three years we’ve been visiting the beautiful Elterwater Merz Barn in Cumbria (last creative home of the mighty Kurt Schwitters)using various devices to capture field recordings(outside the barn) & using these to create live soundscapes(inside). On our arrival last week we discovered that the whole site has been severely damaged in recent storms, which is devastating news as the merzbarn receives no arts grant or regular funding. SO we need your help to raise monies and awareness about the final home of uk dada! Ruby/lamorna/Joy/exp ct!”
So for all of the above reasons, I’m very pleased to offer ‘Merzquito’ to the project. This was produced with content by Belgian sound artist Peter Wullen. A happy accident of coincidence, his word assemblage / text/talk poem about a mosquito, reading about Schwitters internment on the Isle of Wight at the end of WWII, and the launch of the Merz Funder project.
I’ll confess to having a couple more lined up and some musings on visual materials. Its great to inspired by a project. I hope some readers here will feel the same. Contribution is everything.
Some vital links here
Merz Funder on FaceBook https://www.facebook.com/Merzfunder/
Merz Barn Langdale https://merzbarnlangdale.wordpress.com
This from A-N https://www.a-n.co.uk/news/kurt-schwitters-merzbarn
digitalDIZZY – MERZ Funder
The absolutely huge MERZfunder compilation was released on Friday 28th October. 114 original tracks by some highly creative individuals & bands, many pieces made specifically for the project. As well as offering two tracks, one with Peter Wullen, I was very honoured to be asked to put together some cover artwork for this.
The piece took specific reference from the many collages of Kurt Schwitters, whose Merz Barn in Langdale is the point of this fundraing project. More about the Barn can be found in a previous post HERE. The project is a digitalDIZZY production, an independent net label and promoter of all things anarchic and free thinking. Kudos to Ruby Black and the Devotional Hooligans.
Here’s a small selection of pieces by Schwitters that informed my cover design.
The MERZunder is on Bandcamp now and for a small number of 5 British Pounds it can be yours.
There is a huge diversity of music here. Most of the featured artists also have their own Bandcamp or Soundcloud page.
UPDATE: Press Release
MERZfunder press release
31 October 2016
It is 100 years since the Dada movement first rocked the art establishment and paved the way for every oppositional and groundbreaking cultural force that followed, from surrealism to pop art, situationism to punk. Yet in the recent BBC celebrations of the anniversary, no mention was made of Kurt Schwitters, the man seen by many as a major force in and beyond Dada – and the only one to leave a lasting physical legacy of his work in the UK.
MERZfunder brings together more than 100 musicians and experimental noise makers to raise money to support and preserve the Schwitters Merz barn in Cumbria. This was where Schwitters made his final Merzbau installation, a sculptural collaged wall, which he worked on in the last years of his life, walking five miles each way from his home in Ambleside to get there.
The MERZfunder digital download – available for a minimum donation of £5/€6/$6 at merzfunder.bandcamp.com – comprises 114 exclusive tracks, delivering more than 10 hours of Schwitters-inspired creativity. Contributors include:
V4V (Charles Hayward/This Heat)
NIk Turner’s OUTRIDERS OF THE APOCALYPSE (Hawkwind/Inner City Unit)
Geoff Leigh (Henry Cow/Warrior Squares)
Neil Campbell (Astral Social Club/ Vibracathedral Orchestra)
Hagar the Womb
Band of Holy Joy
The Shend (The Cravats/Very Things)
Money raised will go towards the rebuilding and shoring up of the Merz barn at Elterwater in the Lake District, which was damaged by one of last winter’s storms.
Kurt Schwitters was an outsider everywhere – not just as an exile in the Lakes, in London, in Norway, but also in Germany, where the Berlin Dadaists wouldn’t let him join their club because he broke their rules as well as everyone else’s. That inspired him to develop his Merz style of artwork, which he applied to poetry, performance, and abstract expressionist sculpture, collages and installations.
Schwitters was an artist in exile for most of his life, and he worked wherever he was. He ended up in a barn in the English Lakes. This was a working building that was not designed to house an internationally important artwork. It has not weathered well, and is now buckling under the onslaught of age and climate change. It was the last place of work for one of the world’s most influential artists and it continues to inspire others today. For that legacy to continue, the barn needs to be made sound.
That’s what this MERZfunder is raising money for. Please pay what you can to help make this happen – and, as a bonus, treat your ears to a wealth of wonderful sounds created by 100+ of us who want to thank Kurt Schwitters for showing us that creativity is about finding the artist within each and every one of us in whichever medium feels right, the more primal and abstract the better.
As one of the originators of the cut-up collage technique, which he applied to sound, poetry and 3D installations in his famous Merzbau projects, Kurt Schwitters inspired countless others to explore their creativity outside the confines of the fine art tradition. Think Brion Gysin, William Burroughs, David Bowie, Lydia Lunch – all gave a nod to Schwitters for setting them on their path.
Kurt Schwitters was an outsider everywhere – not just as an exile in the Lakes, in London, in Norway, but also in Germany, where the Berlin Dadaists wouldn’t let him join their club because he broke their rules as well as everyone else’s. His creativity wasn’t bound by the values of the art world, his work never belonged in galleries. He had built Merz installations inside an ordinary house in Hanover, and when he had to leave them there (there was no place for ‘degenerate’ artists in Nazi Germany), he found somewhere else to make his mark: inside a cold, dark, little barn, buried in the most awe inspiring natural landscape. In the last years of his life, he walked five miles each way through those breathtaking mountains and valleys to get to his wall from Ambleside and make Merz.
The MerzBarn Langdale is under the care of the Littoral Arts Trust, which encourages artists inspired by Schwitters to continue his legacy by working at the site. http://www.littoral.org.uk / https://merzbarnlangdale.wordpress.com / @MerzBarnLangdale
The Schwitters Wall was cut out of the barn in 1965 and taken to the Hatton Gallery in Newcastle, where it remains part of the permanent display. https://hattongallery.org.uk
For more details, contact digitalDIZZY through Facebook or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
And to close this post and great video & sound from Sequential
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Tagged as Collage, Dada, digitalDIZZY, Fundraiser, Glove of Bones, Merz, Schwitters