Po Lam Chan
Ka Shing Chau
SPECULATIONS AND PROPOSITIONS
RCA SCULPTURE FESTUS PROJECT
Merzbau Pavilions: Speculations and Propositions includes eight collaborative projects developed by RCA sculpture students, each of whom undertook to articulate a particular thematic, artistic, stylistic or aesthetic aspect of Schwitters’ oeuvre in relation to the task of proposing a Merzbau pavilion. The project led to a series of innovative, absurd and sometimes outrageous designs for a Merzbau-inspired exhibition pavilion, with the possibility of ancillary performances, and associated installations to be located in the woods and fields that surround the Merz Barn site in Langdale.
Merzbau Pavilions: Speculations and Propositions is located in one of the most scenic valleys in the Lake District National Park,. The work in the exhibition puts forward detailed proposals for a range of experimental art and architectural pavilion commissions, planned to coincide with the 75th anniversary celebrations of Kurt Schwitters Merz Barn in July 2022.
Declared a ‘degenerate artist’ (Entartete Kunstler) by the Nazis, Kurt Schwitters fled his home in Germany in 1937 and later came to Britain in 1940, where he was to remain as a refugee artist, working largely unrecognised, until his untimely death in 1948. At the end of WWII Schwitters and his English companion Edith Thomas came to live in Ambleside in the Lake District, where he struggled to earn a meagre living mostly painting portraits and landscapes for tourists and local people.
What Schwitters was perhaps most famous for as an artist were his extraordinary Merzbau experimental art installation and architecture projects, which he undertook in locations in Germany, Norway, and in England between 1923 and 1948. The most famous of which was the Hannover Merzbau, which he created inside his parents home between 1923 - 1937 and
which was later destroyed by allied bombing in 1943. He undertook his last Merzbau experiment, the Merz Barn project, which was funded by MoMA New York, in a small semi-derelict farm shed in Langdale Cumbria in 1947.
Although uncompleted at the time of his death in early January 1948, the Merz Barn is today widely recognised as an important part of the 25 year Merzbauten critical trajectory, and continues to exert a major influence on British and international artists, architects, designers and curators. These include; Damien Hirst, Rem Koolhaas, Frank Gehry, Daniel Libeskind, and the late Zaha Hadid.
In recognition of Schwitters as a pioneer of Dada and early modern art in Britain and his strong ongoing influence on contemporary art and architecture, the Royal College of Art Sculpture Programme devoted one of its 2021 FESTUS external projects to working with Schwitters’ Merz Barn. The exhibition will focus on communicating and sharing the Merz Barn’s critical legacy for artists, architects and art students today.
The speculations and propositions shown in this exhibition imagine possible future exhibitions and pavilion structures for the Merz Barn site in July 2022 as part of KS75 - the 75th anniversary of the Merz Barn.
project organisers :
Dr Jaspar Joseph-Lester
Head of Program
Dr Joanne Tatham
Reader in Contemporary Art
School of Arts & Humanities
Ian Hunter & Celia Larner
Littoral Arts Trust
INFO & UPDATES
Merz Barn, Cylinders Estate, Langdale, Ambleside LA22 9JB. View Map
Nothing to report, we look forward to seeing you at the exhibition!
PV 12/07/21 - 13:00 - 18:00
open 13/07/21 - 29/08/21
10am - 5pm daily