Kurt Schwitters' last Merzbau: The Elterwater Merz Barn

KS16: MerzHerbst Guest Lecture, Saturday October 8th, 7.30 pm

Barbecue in the marquee, Autumn School 2013

Barbecue in the marquee, Autumn School 2013

The Merz Barn, Cylinders Estate, Elterwater, Cumbria LA22 9JB

Saturday 8th October Workshops and Seminars

10am – 5pm   Rural craft demonstrations and Merzbau architecture seminars:

  • MAM Merz Art Museum – future plans for a Merzbau/Kurt Schwitters Art Museum;
  • MERZSHED – Zaha Hadid MerzShed project – proposals for a new centre for contemporaryrural art design and architecture;
  • Lakes Pioneer Garden Design – introduction to the Harry Pierce Lakeland landscape gardendesign project (1940s/60s) and environmental reserve at the Cylinders Estate.2 – 5.30pm Seminars:  Schwitters and Dada, Gwyneth Alban printmaking project

Dada 1003⁄4 the Merz Barn Project as a Power Station, generating artistic output around the legacy of Kurt Schwitters and Merz.  Jackie Haynes Kurt Schwitters PhD scholarship artist researcher at University of Cumbria Institute for the Arts, will provide information about a variety of interconnected art events occurring in this centenary year of Dada.

7.30pm Annual Kurt Schwitters lecture:

‘The Afterlife of Dada’ (The fate of Dada under Nazism) Professor Michael White, History of Art, University of York

9pm  ‘The Reading of the Names’

10pm+  MerzHerbst Party music and readings with invited musicians, poets and performers

Sunday 9th 11am – 1pm:  informal seminars and walks in the hills nearby – departure 2pm.

Registration fee: £10.00 (for workshops, seminars, party, and free on site accommodation Friday & Saturday nights) *BBQ dinner extra – suggested donation £5.

Accommodation: Free accommodation available on site (Friday and Saturday nights) in a yurt, two caravans and there is plenty of free camping space on the site. The site also has kitchen, marquees, toilets and a shower. Limited bunk barn accommodation available on request.

For more information please contact Ian Hunter or Celia Larner at the Merz Barn: T. 015394 37309 e. littoral@btopenworld.com w. <www.merzbarn.net>

*Not all artists declared Entartete Kunst were active anti-Nazis. Some like Emil Nolde were pro-Nazi, and continued working, albeit in private, under the Nazi regime. But most were prevented from publicly exhibiting their work, and many departed Germany and sought refuge in Britain and the USA.

All the better to hear you with…my dear, Gwyneth   Heather Ross, Artist and Lecturer at

The University of Central Lancashire. The re-activation of Gwyneth Alban’s letterpress, in conjunction with the book ‘Kurt Schwitters in England,’ by Stefan Themerson, and ‘on being out of touch’, which explores the tension between sound/language and visual/written description, in relation to ornithology.

6 pm BBQ and dinner in the open air (weather permitting) BYO food and drink

MERZWORD FESTIVAL Saturday September 3rd, 2016

Event promoted by Kunst-Kitsch Art Collective


Tickets are £5.

All proceeds from tickets/food/booze etc. on the night go directly to the Merz Barn fund.

Please share and promote the event, and help to raise awareness for the Merz Barn and Kurt Schwitters, the man who made it happen.

Artist Charlie Whinney at the Merz Barn


CW at Merz Barn Poster A4
Monday 22nd – 25th August
Charlie will be making a series of new works in and around the Merz Barn, including large-scale steam-bent wood installations.

Friday 26th August
A Longboard-making course in Charlie’s studio in South Lakes LA11 6SH. Make a unique high-performance longboard to your own design and learn about steam-bending and laminating wood. £125 each, please see http://www.charliewhinney.com/courses for more details.

Saturday 27th August 11am – 5pm
High Speed Trees – Fulfil the basic human need of transportation using found materials including trees in ingenious ways. Ages 7+, children must be accompanied by an adult, free of charge, just turn up.

Sunday 28th August 11am – 5pm
Seminar – ‘Stupid Apes’. A series of short talks exploring haphazard urges and complex creative thoughts that have lead humans to dominate the natural world. BBQ at 7.30pm. All welcome, please email info@charliewhinney.com to book.

Monday 29th August 10am -12pm and 2pm-4pm
‘The Solutioniser‘ – Tell us your problems and we make you a fine art object to help. Sessions 20 minutes each, free of charge. Ages 16+, just turn up.


Architect Andrew Shepherd led a five day workshop programme at Cylinders planning a temporary pavilion at the Merz Barn.


Architect Andrew Shepherd (seated centre) with some of the Merz Barn conservation workshop participants today.

Groups of young architects, artists and writers took part, staying in the TOC H bunkbarn by the river at Chapel Stile, and thoroughly enjoying the opportunities for working outdoors.



Workshop with Dominic Sagar, tutor at the Manchester School of Architecture


Planning session at Cylinders: architect Andrew Shepherd with Ian Hunter, discussing the current programme of renovations, and future possibilities for the Merz Barn site.

The visit gave Andrew Shepherd, the chief architect for the Merz Barn project for nearly ten years now, a chance to meet and advise the contractors carrying out the conservation work, and also (above) to go over and refine the whole project with Ian Hunter.


In anticipation of July’s comprehensive reparations to the Merz Barn site, preliminary work began today on the Barn itself:


John and Sam preparing the area behind the Merz Barn for the rebuilding of the damaged wall. 30.06.16

Sam and John making the site ready for rebuilding the wall, and Tom Branton beginning to remove the damaged roof.


Tom Branton beginning to remove the damaged roof of the Merz Barn prior to replacement.

Thanks to all our wonderful supporters: Galerie Gmurzynska (Zurich), the University of Cumbria, the Cumbria Community Fund, the Dulverton Trust, and the Sir John Fisher Foundation.


Architectural Workshops at The Merz Barn

Zaha Hadid and Kurt Schwitters

Workshops & seminars – for architecture, art, design and built heritage students

Monday 11 – Friday 15 July 2016;   Cylinders Estate, Elterwater, Langdale Cumbria LA22 9JB

A five day programme and introduction to some of the key architectural issues and practical conservation work involved in the restoration of the site of Kurt Schwitters’ last Merzbau, the Elterwater Merz Barn.   <www.merzbarn.net> <www.facebook.com/MerzmanProject?fref=photo>

Accommodation will be available on site.

Conserving a pioneering modernist experimental site in a rural location

Following considerable damage to the Merz Barn and site during last winter’s storms the Kurt Schwitters Merz Barn project site will be undergoing restoration and conservation work over the summer.  As a preliminary to this work, Dr. Ian Hunter Director of the Kurt Schwitters Merz barn project and Andrew Shepherd Dip.Arch., Dip. Cons., R.I.B.A., F.R.S.A, I.H.B.C., formerly Head of the Architectural Association Building Conservation Dept. will be leading the workshops.  These will involve hands-on work experience, and an introduction to the design and planning issues relating to the recovery and conservation of a pioneering early modernist architecture experimental site, in a National Park location.

Seminar – Zaha Hadid and the Merz Barn.

Part-funding for the conservation work has been contributed by the Galerie Gmurzynska, with the support of Zaha Hadid Architecture London, following a recommendation from Hadid, before she died earlier this year in Florida, that Kurt Schwitters Merz Barn project should be supported and and conserved.   Reference will accordingly be made to Zaha Hadid’s current Merzbau architectural installation at the Galerie Gmurzynska in Zurich.<http://uk.blouinartinfo.com/news/story/1428258/kurt-schwitters-meets-zaha-hadid-at-galerie-gmurzynska>.

For more information on fees and registration please contact:  Celia Larner or Ian Hunter

t. 015394 37309   e. <littoral@btopenworld.com>

Schwitters in Zurich



Galerie Gmurzynska is proud to announce Kurt Schwitters: Merz, a major retrospective exhibition that builds and expands on the gallery’s five decade long exhibition history with the artist, bringing together a unique selection of seventy works across all media. These include key works of each period, some of which have been especially loaned from significant collections.

Kurt Schwitters: Merz will be presented in a fully transformed gallery space designed by the late Pritzker Price winning architect Zaha Hadid. This collaboration results from the idea of an architectural homage by Zaha Hadid to the famous “Merz Bau” of Kurt Schwitters. Having successfully realized a similar project seven years ago, where Hadid transformed Galerie Gmurzynska, Zurich into a Suprematist space in reference to Kasimir Malevich, this collaborative project pays tribute to the second important artistic influence on Hadid’s work – Kurt Schwitters.

Since Galerie Gmurzynska, Zurich is in the same building complex that once housed the famous Galerie Dada run by artists Tristan Tzara and Hugo Ball, and with Zurich celebrating 100 years of DADA this year, this retrospective is both overdue and extremely timely. The exhibition will be realized in curatorial collaboration with Adrian Notz, the director of Cabaret Voltaire where the DADA movement originated in 1916 and one of the main locations of this year’s centennial festivities. Adrian Notz will create sections devoted to archival documents covering Schwitters’s important ventures into poetry, theatre, stage design and sound which complement and further contextualize his unique visual praxis.

The retrospective will also shine a light on Kurt Schwitters’s significant influence on a whole range of artistic generations succeeding him – from David Bowie to Damien Hirst – or as the renowned curator Norman Rosenthal put it: “there is no artist working today that has not been influenced by Kurt Schwitters”.

Fundraising Newsflash

A new fundraising initiative has been set up for the Merz Barn by DigitalDIZZY (digitaldizzy.bandcamp.com).  The team has been making sound recordings at Cylinders and is compiling material for sale online.

Ruby's pic

The Merz Barn, by DigitalDIZZY: Merzfunder

**Another BENEFIT release**   from: Alix Lee and Ruby Black
Over the past three years we’ve been visiting the Cumbrian merzbarn (last creative home of the mighty Kurt Schwitters!) taking photos,using different devices to capture field recording(outside) & using these to create live soundscapes(inside) which we intend(ed) to release as a devotionalhallucinatic project. 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 other funding and is run by Celia & Ian purely as a labour of love. SO we need your help to raise money and awareness about the final home of uk dada! We plan a compilation similar to our AWW release to start the ball rolling… SOON. Ruby/lamorna/Joy/exp ct!

Anyone interested in getting involved, please submit contributions by 31 July for release in early August: <<https://www.facebook.com/digitalDIZZY/posts/1678482399097468:0>>


There is a splendid new FaceBook page at : <https://www.facebook.com/Merzfunder/&gt;

Contributions from other artists will also be available.  A first track in already, this is an Anglo German collaboration inspired by the schwitters / merzbarn & our merzfunder idea.  It can be heard on <https://soundcloud.com/gloveofbones/merzquito> and features sound voices from Peter Wullen. Subtitle, ‘Kurt in Douglas’.

Posted on FB by Alix on May 23rd:

We already have contributions promised for the merzbarn benefit from Charles Hayward(this heat) & Colin Robinson (big block 454) …. Let’s hear it from all the musicians/noise makers out there… Scroll down for more info… We thought a July deadline would be good… I’d love to include painters/artists in this project too… maybe we could organise an exhib/art auction at the merzbarn or at least include your works with the release… It’s all at the ideas stage right now… And we are open to all !


Merz Barn Fund-Raising Update

Guardian 4.5.16

The wonderful news that we have been waiting to announce: the Merz Barn has received an amazing £25,000 gift from the Galerie Gmurzynska in Zurich.

To cap this news we have also heard that The University of Cumbria has given the project a £5,000 grant;  and the Cumbria Community Foundation has awarded a grant of £15,000 to complete the reparations to the damage caused by the winter’s floods and storms.

Work will now begin on putting the Merz Barn, the Shippon, and the site to rights.

Fund-raising continues for the upgrading and restoration of the rest of the site.