State Library of South AustraliaState Library of South Australia

Merz sonata

Catalogue record

Creator: Rothenberg, Jerome, 1931-

Place of Creation: [Easthampton,Mass.] Rosendale,N.Y.

Published by Emanon Press ; Women's Studio Workshop

Date of creation : 1985

Additional creator : Weier, Debra

This image is not currently available.

Format : Book

Donated by Friends of the State Library of South Australia 1986

This work is an avante-garde book production and combines the spirit of three people: Kurt Schwitters, Jerome Rothenberg, and Debra Weier. It was written by Rothenberg as a tribute to Schwitters. The book is illustrated with double-page collages, with pop-ups and additions of threads, pieces of tickets, trembling paper cuts and multiple plate etchings.

Kurt Schwitters was born in Hannover in 1887 and studied at the Kunstakademie Dresden. Following World War I he experimented with Cubist and Expressionist art, before making his first collages in 1919. This form of art came to predominate in his work and was called 'merz' from a fragment of paper used in one of them-believed to be from a piece of advertising for the Kommerz-und-privat-bank.

From collage work Schwitters moved to larger constructions or art installations: Merzbilder, and later Merzbau, and his final uncompleted work in England, Merzbarn. In 1937 he fled Germany: his work was categorised as degenerate by the Nazis. From Norway Schwitters escaped to England where he died in 1948.

Jerome Rothenberg is an American poet and anthropologist and has translated many poets including Schwitters. He is also acknowledged for his work in ethnopoetics and the collections of tribal poetry from around the world which he has collected. His work has been honoured with a Guggenheim fellowship and other awards.

Debra Weier is a highly regarded book artist whose work has been shown in many exhibitions and is represented in galleries around the world including the Art Gallery of New South Wales. She is an exponent of string-aided pop-up books.

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