The exhibition explores Schwitters’s interaction with Britain in multiple ways seeking to trace his connections with British art and culture between 1940 and 1948 - visible both in the new materials and themes of his works and his interaction with the British art world - and in showcasing the rich holdings of Schwitters’s work in British collections, many of whose owners have a direct family connection with Schwitters.
Schwitters’s collages and assemblages were made from everyday materials that he found around him, so his physical location had an enormous impact on the nature of his work. In London his materials ranged from the bus tickets and Bassetts Liquorice All Sorts sweet wrappers in Untitled (This is to Certify That) to a scrubbing brush and even a metal toy motorcyclist collaged alongside a clothes peg and fragments of china in As you like it. In the Lake District his work increasingly began to focus on the natural world, seen in abstract collages such as c 77 wind swept, but, through his correspondence with friends in America, he also looked further afield to the imagery of American popular culture in EN MORN.
In the coming weeks we will be looking in more depth at some of Schwitters’s materials, but for now we have a question for you. Can anybody identify the man who is collaged upside down in EN MORN? The lettering below the photograph reads ‘Registered Trademark’ so we think it is from packaging of some kind. But so far we haven’t been able to identify it. Over to you.