The Museum of Avant-garde

Kurt Schwitters

Germany (1887—1948)
Born to a middle class family in Hanover, Schwitters suffered from epilepsy from early age but despite his condition he was enlisted in military service during WWI. He was employed as techinical draftsman in a factory: this opportunity started his fascination with machinery. In 1918 he got exposed to the Berlin avant-garde and international Dada movement and started finding his own expression transforming street rubbish into art. He collaborated with Hausmann and created his poems, the Ursonate. In 1923 he published the Dada Merz magazine and became close friend of van Doesburg and El Lizzitsky. In 1932 he joined the Abstraction-Création group. In 1937 he left for Norway to escape the imminent war and started a second Merzbau. 1940 he moved to the Isle of Man and from there to London. While the war was coming to its conclusion he suffered a stroke. He attempted a third series of Merzbau in the UK, but died before its completion.