Schwitters in Britain at the Tate Britain is the first exhibition of its kind to document the life of German painter Kurt Schwitters; a fascinating journey and wide-ranging spectrum of work, influencing artists and musicians from Damien Hirst and Robert Rauschenberg to Brian Eno and The Talking Heads.
The exhibition focuses on the years Schwitters spent in England; 1940-1948. After fleeing the Nazi regime, he settled in London and later the Lake District where, amongst other projects, he continued his ‘Merz’ artworks; collages incorporating fragments of everyday objects and found items. Part of the fun of this exhibition is peering closely at the Merz Pictures, locating pennies, bus tickets and pieces of newspaper, all collected from the streets of 1940s Britain.
Fascinating snippets of culture are embedded subtly into compositions of paint and collage. Some are bold, striking pieces with rich colour and large objects attached; others small and delicate, with intricate details and neutral tones. We are given a different insight into everyday life in 1940s Britain – how bus tickets looked, commonplace fabrics, and sweet wrappers dropped on the floor (Quality Street were evidently very popular).
It’s funny to think of a person – a young/old man/woman – dropping a bit of rubbish without a second thought, having no idea that it would one day be stuck to an artist’s work, displayed in the Tate Britain.
Moving through the exhibition, you notice hints of the Pop Art movement on its way for 1950s Britain – Schwitters is often cited as the ‘godfather of Pop Art’. His friends in America at the time sent snippets, anything from food labels to magazine cut-outs, for him to use in his work. Schwitters in Britain is the perfect precursor to Lichtenstein at Tate Modern which opens next week.
Only 2 stops from Green Park, which is only 3 minutes walk from Flemings, the Tate Britain is perfectly simple to get to if you’re staying with us. Let our Concierge chaps know if you want to book tickets and they can sort it all out for you!
Need to know:
Dates: 30 Jan – 12 May
Tickets: £10, concs £8.50
Nearest tube: Pimlico (Victoria Line)