The MERZ Building
by Kurt Schwitters




The MERZ Building took shape in the years 1920 to 1936 in  Kurt Schwitters' apartment in Waldhausenstrasse 5A, Hanover.
It began in his studio and grew rampantly over the years. By the time he left for Norway in 1936 it had taken over the adjacent rooms in his flat and extended to the flat two storeys further up, out onto the veranda and down into the cellar-like room below.

The central space remained Kurt Schwitters' studio.
In 1932 /33 three wide-angle photographs were taken of his studio, each 18 x 24 cm, by the house photographer of the Hanover Landesmuseum.
No photographs exist of the other rooms.
Ernst Schwitters, the artist's son, once described how he sent his photographic archive, including numerous photographs of the MERZ Building, by courier on a night flight to Norway in the first years of World War II.
The plane was shot down.
In 1943 a bomb hit Waldhausenstrasse 7A and destroyed the MERZ Building.

Kurt Schwitters, 1946:

"I was thrilled to hear it might be possible to find part of the Merz Building under the ruins of the house. When it comes to clearing up, those involved absolutely must wait until I come before they do anything with those two (!?!) rooms. 
... It really will be worth it, as this was my life's work..."

Ernst Schwitters, the art:ist's son:

Thus almost the entire sculptural oeuvre of Kurt Schwitters disappeared. It must have amounted to about half his life's work, and he dedicated more time and effort to this than to all his other work. - The only things that remain are the Merz Drawings - tiny, astonishing miracles of colour and form -, the larger and impressive Merzpictures, and his humorously philosophical Merz poetry.
And a myth - of the Merz Building.

Lysaker, Norwegen, 6 December 1970

 

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