The persistence of objects - Page 2

Dadaist hybrids breathe remarkable new life in Berkeley Art Museum's "Kurt Schwitters: Color and Collage"

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Kurt Schwitters' Mz 601 (1923)
COPYRIGHT 2011 ARTISTS RIGHTS SOCIETY (ARS)

On BAM's ground floor sits Peter Bissegger's meticulous, life-size reconstruction (1981-83) of one of the Hannover rooms. It's a doozy to walk into, and, once you're out again, near-impossible to try and square the three dimensional geometric assault just experienced against the three wall-mounted 1933 black and white interior photos on which the reconstruction was based. Save perhaps for the Winchester Mystery House, you will simply not experience another space like it, or have your experience of space so wonderfully warped (even BAM's interior, which offers a Brutalist response to the Guggenheim's famous spiraling rotunda, seems positively orderly by comparison).

While undeniably cool as an object, in some respects, the reconstructed Merzbau conceptually cuts against Schwitters' process of ongoing accumulation that led to its construction in the first place. To have the Merzbau be a wholly transportable thing that can be taken down and re-assembled, jigsaw puzzle-style (as demonstrated in an accompanying time lapse video of the piece's installation), is to fail to treat it as something that has no final form but is always in the process of becoming. Indeed, it's telling that Schwitters built other Merz environments wherever he moved, at each location spinning anew another web of form and shape culled from bits and pieces of his surroundings. The task he had set before himself to connect the world anew would prove to be unending. 

 

KURT SCHWITTERS: COLOR AND COLLAGE

Through Nov. 27, $7-$10

Berkeley Art Museum

2626 Bancroft, Berk.

(510) 642-0808 www.bampfa.berkeley.edu

Comments

'Kurt Schwitters (1887-1948) acted as an interpreter for the discards of modern life, or what Alfred Barr, the first curator of New York's Museum of Modern Art, tellingly referred to as, "witnesses stolen from the ground." He listened to what the matchbook covers, torn ticket stubs, crinkled packaging, scrap paper, fabric remnants, and other junk that he took back to his studio had to say about form and color..."

Wow, intriguing...now, I really must check out this exhibit.

Posted by Lisa on Aug. 20, 2011 @ 4:19 pm

A large, uncrowded room full of Schwitters' collages: a slice of heaven. A nice fit with this was the exhibit below: Create - art by developmentally disabled artists. Defintely worth the BART ride today!

Posted by Guest Steve on Aug. 21, 2011 @ 9:38 pm

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