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Initially associated with the irreverent Dada movement in 1920s Germany, Schwitters developed an interest in collage and the complex visual inventions this technique made possible. He coined the term MERZ to describe his highly idiosyncratic approach to making art. Schwitters stayed true to these principles even when he left Germany after the rise of National Socialism and emigrated to Britain. He often took months over his constructions, painstakingly searching for the appropriate elements. In wartime Barnes, where glossy magazines for his collages

were scarce, the artist used driftwood from the Thames.

March 2009