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This assemblage of discarded rubbish and printed ephemera was begun in Germany in 1920. In 1937, Schwitters fled Nazi Germany and went to Norway, where he added layers of Norwegian material: theatre tickets, receipts, newspaper cuttings, scraps of lace, and a box with two china dogs. The different layers of collage reflect the artist's journey into exile. Schwitters coined the term Merz to describe this form of art, which arranges the detritus of urban civilization in a highly ordered composition.

August 2004