kurt schwitters collage what glue
1921. Cut-and-pasted colored and printed paper, cloth, wood, metal, cork, oil, pencil, and ink on board, 36 1/8 x 27 3/4″ (91.8 x 70.5 cm)
Merz Picture 32A belongs to the so-called Merz series, a term Schwitters made up by cutting a scrap from the second syllable of the German word вЂњKommerzвЂќ (commerce), which he included in one of his early collage paintings. Schwitters was trained as a painter, but as World War I came to an end he adopted collage as his preferred process, saying, вЂњEverything had broken down in any case and new things had to be made out of the fragments.вЂќ 1 В With his Merz project he aimed вЂњto create connections, preferably between everything in this world.вЂќ
I could see no reason why used tram tickets, bits of driftwood, buttons and old junk from attics and rubbish heaps should not serve well as materials for paintings; they suited the purpose just as well as factory-made paints. … It is possible to cry out using bits of old rubbish, and that’s what I did, gluing and nailing them together.
In an account of his works, Schwitters explained: “I called Merz this new process whose principle was the use of any material. It was the second syllable of Kommerz. It first appeared in Merzbild, a painting in which, apart from its abstract forms, one could read Merz, cut and pasted from an advertisement for Kommerz- und Privatbank. … I was looking for a term to designate this new genre, for I could not classify my paintings under old labels such as expressionism, cubism, futurism and so on.”
Another compelling work, “Hitler Gang” (1944), made from discarded paper and bits of wicker, reflects the time and environment and offers a somewhat subtle reference to the politics of the time as well. It’s a bit unusual, too, as his work mostly stayed away from political comment.
Schwitters, ‘Dancer’, 1943, plaster. Image courtesy The Economist.
Schwitters worked his collage pieces laying them flat, which is particularly evident in those pieces signed in different places, which suggested they be exhibited in multiple orientations. The Untitled collage (Black Merz Drawing) is one such example, signed to allow for both a vertical and horizontal presentation, it underscores the pure essence of non-objective art. The piece dates from around 1925, yet its color is still crisp, with a dark background, and overlayed with blue, red, and yellow color fragments scattered around the picture plane. The composition presents the tumbling of paper downward, as if in movement. It is reminiscent of Jean Arp’s Collage with Squares Arranged According to the Laws of Chance (ca. 1916-17).
Schwitters’ work lives on. In addition to his visual art, he left experimental stories, poems, and plays, including his famous poem An Anna Blume (commonly translated as To Eve Blossom), which first attracted an international audience in 1919 for its originality and inventiveness, and various sound experiments including a 40 minute “primeval” sonata, Ursonate, which he composed between 1922-32, and which is still performed today.
Decoupage is a type of collage usually defined as a craft. It is the process of placing a picture into an object for decoration. Decoupage can involve adding multiple copies of the same image, cut and layered to add apparent depth. The picture is often coated with varnish or some other sealant for protection.
Creating a photomontage has, for the most part, become easier with the advent of computer software such as Adobe Photoshop, Pixel image editor, and GIMP. These programs make the changes digitally, allowing for faster workflow and more precise results. They also mitigate mistakes by allowing the artist to “undo” errors. Yet some artists are pushing the boundaries of digital image editing to create extremely time-intensive compositions that rival the demands of the traditional arts. The current trend is to create pictures that combine painting, theatre, illustration and graphics in a seamless photographic whole.