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Towards an archaeology of gesture in Kurt Schwitters’ ‘Pointless’ collage (or how I ‘learned’ about Schwitters’ work through painting leftovers)

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This article will discuss how an analysis of the readable gestures within the work of Kurt Schwitters (1887–1948) can provide a new way of experiencing his artwork in the present. Specifically addressing two artworks by Schwitters, Merzoil (1939) and Untitled (with Porcelain Shard) (1946), the article will use theoretical and art-practice-based methods to analyse the ‘stain’, to provide new insights into his working processes, relationship to materials and site. This research is aimed towards a better understanding of Kurt Schwitters’ final ‘Merzbau’ the Merz Barn Wall (1947) situated within the Hatton Gallery, Newcastle.
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Keywords: Kurt Schwitters; Merz Barn Wall; Merzbau; collage; gesture; materiality; performance; site

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Newcastle University

Publication date: September 1, 2018

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  • JAWS: Journal of Arts Writing by Students is a compilation of the best arts research and writing by current MA students and first year graduates. Capturing the contemporary themes and trends in arts research today, JAWS is peer reviewed and edited by students, for students; promoting the autodidactic attitude and inherent curiosity that is required for post graduate, career or personal research development with or without practice.
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