mercredi 25 mars 2015

Schwitters, Vorticism and found language


       Once upon a time, in another life, I wrote an MA dissertation on Vorticism, which is held in the  elegant Tate Modern library, where I carried out part of my research. I have always been drawn like a bee to honey by the avant-garde artistic movements from the début du siècle. Dadaism holds a special, undone, ripped up and shuffled place in my heart. This week, I was flipping through the pages of Coutts-Smith book about this anarchic and nihilistic movement which took place between 1916 and 1923. Reading, I came across the German artist Kurt Schwitters, renowned for his opening up of art, its materials, subject matters, ideas of aesthetic. In this assemblage vision the debris of contemporary society: the broken, the abandoned, the useless and the over-looked, are re-presented, transformed and transcended. 
               Schwitters extends this practice to language, travels for hours on trains, circling the city, listening to snatches of conversation, chatter and gossip, lyrics and songs. Overheard fragments are collaged together, language re-found. I have been mulling this idea around in the back of my head, the idea of finding language, words and stories, over, under and around the page. Outside and inside. And, also the idea of reclaiming the discarded and the lost.

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