Merz! Flux! Pop!
Photo: Øystein Thorvaldsen / Henie Onstad Kunstsenter
This exhibition is dedicated to the German avant-garde artist Kurt Schwitters (1887–1948) and his colleagues and successors.
Kurt Schwitters was one of the most distinctive and versatile artists in the first half of the 1900th century. The artistic tactics and strategies he developed have had a significant influence on later generations. The exhibition showcases Schwitters in conjunction with his contemporaries and artists he later inspired in the avant-garde tradition.
The French term "avant-garde" means vanguard. The term is used for experimental artists or movements that oppose or change tradition, and for artists working across art forms with innovative strategies such as manifestos, artist books, and "mail-art." Historically, the avant-garde denotes important movements such as Dada, Futurism, and Surrealism, which emerged at the end of the 1800th century and culminated in the 1920s and 1930s, followed by the radical innovation in art, literature, and fashion in the late 1950s and 1960s, known as the neo-avant-garde. For the avant-garde, social and political radicalism is closely linked to artistic innovation. More than being stylistic movements or "schools," the avant-garde is about different attitudes toward life.
Since 2009, Sparebankstiftelsen DnB has developed a collection of Schwitters and his artistic colleagues in close collaboration with Henie Onstad. The collection is still evolving. Since the museum's creation in 1968, Henie Onstad has been a place for the avant-garde and for interdisciplinary artistic projects. The institution holds a unique position in this field in Norway. The exhibition presents Sparebankstiftelsen DnB's collection alongside material from Henie Onstad's own collections and archives.
The exhibition is permanently displayed in Henie Onstad's Gallery Merz, which is a brand new exhibition hall at the museum. The hall covers 430 square meters and is created as an integrated part of the original building from 1968. The space which previously was used as storage, have been transformed into public areas for art and span two floors. The exhibition space is designed by Snøhetta, and the exhibition design is developed by the artist Luca Frei in collaboration with Henie Onstad.
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