Kurt Schwitters' last Merzbau: The Elterwater Merz Barn


Kurt Schwitters 70th anniversary memorial events on Sunday 7th January 2018, in Ambleside and Kendal

Kirkwood Cover Image

One of the great modern artists of the 20th century, Kurt Schwitters, died almost penniless and largely forgotten on the 8th January 1948 in what was then the Kendal Workhouse infirmary after spending his final years in Ambleside.

Sunday 7th January – 70th anniversary memorial programme:

2 pm:  Kurt Schwitters Dada poetry and Ursonate recital – Queens Hotel, Ambleside

It is said that Schwitters would from time to time perform his poems and recitations in some of the Ambleside pubs.   In honour of this, and also the award of his British citizenship papers on 7th January 1948*, we have invited Florian Kaplick and Ian Hinde to perform the Ursonate and other poems by or about Kurt Schwitters at the Queens Hotel in Ambleside.   Lunch 1 – 2 pm, and performances 2 – 3 pm.

4 pm:  70th anniversary memorial event – Caroline Street, (off Windermere Rd.) Kendal
Artists, poets, musicians and writers in Cumbria will gather at Caroline Street Kendal at the site of the former Workhouse Infirmary, at 4 pm on Sunday 7th January 2018 to lay a wreath in Schwitters’ honour and read poems in memory of the artist, on what is the eve of the 70th anniversary of his death in Kendal (8th January 1948).   All welcome.

6 pm onwards: BBQ at the Merz Barn, Elterwater, LA 22 9JB.

All are invited to a BBQ event (BYO) at the Merz Barn in Elterwater, with music and song provided by the ever-talented and joyous Merzmusos Carolyn Francis and Steve Grundy.

The Merz Barn – Cylinders Estate, Elterwater, Cumbria LA 22 9JB

T. 015394 37309

littoral@btopenworld.com <www.merzbarn.net>

 

*Kurt Schwitters was awarded his British citizenship papers just the day before he died; 7th January 1948.  Unfortunately he was by them too ill to sign them.


GREEN DOOR AT THE MERZ

SUNDAY SEPT. 24 TO OCT. 12 2017

PRIVATE VIEW SEPT 24th, from 2 pm – All Welcome!

The exhibition includes paintings, prints, collages, sculptures, ceramics and diorama. Exhibiting artists include: Gordon Baddeley, Roger Bell, Averyl Bradbrook, Barbra Cropper, John Davenport, Ann Marie Foster, Janet Graves, Mike Healey, Marion Kuit, Cally Lawson, Karen Lester, Anne MacKinnon, Jilll Pemberton, Elizabeth Shorrock, Keith Shorrock, Steve Trevillion, Sonja Vietoris, Geraldine Walkington, Andy Wild and Frances Winder.

The Merz Barn, Cylinders Estate, Langdale, Ambleside LA22 9JB is open from 10.00 am to 5.00 pm each day.

“When researching Schwitter’s work I found that I could draw some links between the processes he used and my own, even though our styles are very different’” said Janet Graves. “I also incorporate found objects in my work which is site specific. I use twigs stalks and grasses for mark making and also for making charcoal. I used my time at the Merz Barn to sketch, photograph and gather objects. These will be presented in my final piecewhich reflects my respect for Schwitter’s techniques and the beautiful environment of the Merz Barn.”

In her art work titled, ‘Hood E’, Ann Marie Foster references the papery territory of Schwitters and his use of the discarded debris of the every day.

“I took faded paper patterns used in dressmaking and collaged them to create another layer of meaning,” explained Ann Marie. “These opaque, ghostly papers refer to previous identities of the wearer. The garments carefully constructed from the paper patterns have been shed along with the previous selves that inhabited them.  In my use of collage materials I’ve contrasted the mechanical nature of the lines imprinted on the paper patterns compared with the fluid, intuitive contours of the figures.”

Cally Lawson has created a large collage, inspired by Kurt Schwitters’ collages and his use of found objects. ‘Beyond the Lines’ incorporates a reclaimed frame and an old stag skull and antlers. Emulating the colour palette, use of found objects and abstract style of Schwitter’s famous collages, this artwork evolved from the intricate natural lines in the skull’s structure.

Andy Wild’s ‘Melting Angel’ is a piece from object found to object formed. It is metal from a fallen drain pipe made into a sculpture that appears to be melting away. It has moved from a drain pipes destruction to a construction of a sculpture to an image of melting into destruction again.

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Mike Healey

Mike Healey’s complex three-dimensional diorama is an expression of Schwitters’ celebrated claim that perspective is a ‘swindle’.

“I have inverted normal perspective, so that images close to the viewer are small whereas objects further away are large, thereby ‘destroying’ classical Renaissance perspective,” said Mike. “Within this framework there are smaller, equally dramatic narratives going on in which visual expectations and perspective are constantly usurped.”

Steven Trevillion’s “Found Subject” series reworks the idea of the found image/text that was so central to Schwitters’ collage practice. By literally tearing apart and reconfiguring a personal photo Steven also draws on Schwitters’ idea that destruction can feed creation.

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Steven Trevillion

 


Green Door at Cylinders

Green-Door

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Green Door at the Merz

Members of Green Door, the region’s leading artists’ collective, faced up to a new challenge for their latest exhibition.  The group were invited to visit the iconic Cylinders Estate in the Langdale Valley, home of Kurt Schwitters’ Merz barn, to create new work inspired by the work of Schwitters or by the barn and its surroundings.   The results of the project can be seen in an exhibition at the Elterwater site from 24 September to 12 October and includes paintings, prints, collages, diorama, sculptures and ceramics.

In her art work titled, ‘Hood E’, Ann Marie Foster (image above) references the papery territory of Schwitters and his use of the discarded debris of the every day.

“I took faded paper patterns used in dressmaking and collaged them to create another layer of meaning,” explained Ann Marie. “These opaque, ghostly papers refer to previous identities of the wearer. The garments carefully constructed from the paper patterns have been shed along with the previous selves that inhabited them.  In my use of collage materials I’ve contrasted the mechanical nature of the lines imprinted on the paper patterns compared with the fluid, intuitive contours of the figures.”

Cally Lawson (image above) has created a large collage, inspired by Kurt Schwitters’ collages and his use of found objects. ‘Beyond the Lines’ incorporates a reclaimed frame and an old stag skull and antlers. Emulating the colour palette, use of found objects and abstract style of Schwitter’s famous collages, this artwork evolved from the intricate natural lines in the skull’s structure.

Mike Healey (image above) has created a complex three-dimensional diorama that is an expression of Schwitters’ celebrated claim that perspective is a ‘swindle’.

“I have inverted normal perspective, so that images close to the viewer are small whereas objects further away are large, thereby ‘destroying’ classical Renaissance perspective,” said Mike. “Within this framework there are smaller, equally dramatic narratives going on in which visual expectations and perspective are constantly usurped.”

“Our members have relished the opportunity to create new work in such an inspirational setting,” says Green Door administrator Janice Benson.  “Some of them were already familiar with Kurt Schwitters and the Merz barn project

but others have made their first visit to the Merz barn and have been stimulated by the beauty of the site and the legacy of Schwitters’ work.”

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, it serves as a symbolic connection and poignant memorial to the spirit and tenacity of the artist who worked there.

Exhibiting artists include: Gordon Baddeley, Roger Bell, Averyl Bradbrook, Barbra Cropper, John Davenport, Ann Marie Foster, Janet Graves, Lynda Gray, Mike Healey, Marion Kuit, Cally Lawson, Karen Lester, Richard Light, Anne MacKinnon, Marjorie Park, Ana Sequeira, Elizabeth Shorrock, Keith Shorrock, Steve Trevillion, Geraldine Walkington, Andy Wild, Frances Winder.

Notes

  • The exhibition runs from 24 September to 12 October.
  • Green Door is a self-managed, not-for-profit artists’ co-operative based in South Lakeland, and committed to bringing artists together and making contemporary art accessible to local residents and visitors to the area.
  • Cylinders Estate is open every day from, 10.00 am to 5.30 pm (www.merzbarn.net).
  • For more information, contact: Janice Benson, Administrator: benson@gmail.com / 07812 172193


Geoff Molyneux: ‘Moving Mountains for the Merz Barn’

Exhibition in the MERZ BARN CAKE ROOM

September 10th on

MOLYNEUX

Exhibition Flier

PRIVATE VIEW

Sunday, September 10th, 2017

The Merz Barn, Cylinders, Langdale, Ambleside LA22 9JB

Tel. 015394 37309        www,merzbarn.net

2pm to 5pm

All Welcome!

Cake and Refreshments will be served!

 The Merz Barn is open from 10am, if you would like to arrive early and look around the grounds where Kurt Schwitters worked on his final Merz construction.

Artist’s Statement

‘The set of works for the Merz Barn 2017 consists of 24 works – each piece contains a digital photograph, a stone, and has a title.

‘Each stone has been collected by the artist during one of his journeys.  Each photographic image has been taken by the artist during one of his journeys.

‘It is unlikely (but possible) that the stone has not been gathered or relocated where the photograph was taken.

‘This statement, like the title of each piece, is both complex and random’.

 All works are for sale.

The artist has generously offered to donate 50% of the money raised to the Merz Barn Campaign.

The Merz Barn is administered by

Littoral Arts

Charity No. 1002365;  Reg. Company No. 02526443


Residency at Cylinders by Carolina Rodrigues

Tom,Carolina,Shepherd

Carolina Rodrigues with Tom Branton and architect Andrew Shepherd, in the Cylinders marquee

Artist Carolina Rodrigues has spent two weeks during July at Cylinders. Her ongoing project is to identify and map the self-sown plant species that are colonising the roof of the Merz Barn, and assist the process by building up the compost cover with soil and leaf-litter taken from elsewhere on site.

Carolina's-drawing

Lesser Willowherb – drawing by Carolina Rodrigues

This is the drawing she made of a small-flowered willowherb that grows prolifically at Cylinders.   We had hoped to identify the exact species but this has proved impossible due to the number of very similar variants – to me these are lazily known en bloc as ‘lesser willowherb’.  This one is very pale pink.

Carolina will return to Cylinders at intervals in future to monitor progress on the Merz Barn roof, where already some species would seem to have a better chance of survival than others.  Inexplicably, since we have not seen this species elsewhere at Cylinders, an alien garden escape has introduced itself, Leycesteria formosa, which apparently grows up to 6 ft high.


70th Anniversary VIP Reception at the Merz Barn

Saturday July 15th 2017 at 1 pm

at the Merz Barn, Cylinders, Elterwater, Ambleside

Human-Organs-2

The Human Organs at Cylinders earlier in July with members of the Lakeland FiddlersEnter a caption

All Welcome!

the event will be attended by:

Jens-Peter Voss, Consul General of the Federal Republic of Germany

Richard Demarco C.B.E. Director of the Demarco European Art Foundation

Leith & Christine Hallatsch, the Mayor and Mayoress of Windermere

and members of the Windermere/Diessen Twinning Association 

1 pm        Light Luncheon for VIPs and Guests

2 pm        Short recital of excerpts from Schwitters’ ‘Ursonate’ by Ian Hinde.

2.10 pm   Introduction by Richard Demarco C.B.E. Director of the Demarco European Art FoundationThe significance of the year 1947 -some major turning points in the history of British art and culture. 

2.25 pm   The Mayor of Windermere Cllr. Leith Hallatsch and the Mayoress Christine Hallatsch:  Welcome address to the Consul General, and an introduction to the Windermere/Diessen Twinning Association.

2.35 pm   The Consul General is welcomed by a spokesperson for the Langdale Community

2.45 pm   Jens-Peter Voss, Consul General of the Federal Republic of Germany:  Official speech to honour the 70th anniversary of Kurt Schwitters’ last ‘Merzbau’, the Langdale Merz Barn.

3 pm        The ceremony concludes.

Guests are welcome to stay on for a glass of wine and a musical programme with The Human Organs led by John Hall, and Carolyn Francis of the Lakeland Fiddlers (Border Bagpipes and Fiddle).

MERZBARNlogo-sm

The Elterwater Merz Barn project is managed by the Littoral Arts Trust

Reg. Charity No. 1002365

 

 


Public Funding for the Merz Barn Project

It has come to our notice that some nonsensical claims are being published and disseminated against the Merz Barn project and the Littoral Trust by a certain individual and his cronies.  The defamation has been going on since 1998, and we have more or less become used to it, but it is not fair to our many supporters to leave it hanging.

Mostly the lengthy screeds which some of you will have received consist of academic quibbles and half truths.  The crazy financial claims however are more damaging, and we are therefore taking the step of publishing the true figures of public funding received by the Littoral trust for the Merz Barn project over the past 10 years.

Public-funding-2016-16

P.S.:  we forgot to include in this schedule the £2,000 contributed by South Lakes District Council to the costs of preparing and publishing the 2015 Consultancy Report on the Future of the Merz Barn.