A séance with KURT SCHWITTERS
Written & Performed by Paul Brightwell
ABOUT THE MERZSPIEL
Refusing to let the minor inconvenience of being dead inhibit his boundless energy and creativity, a legendary German artist has hijacked the body of a British actor in order to re-present MERZ, his one-man art movement, live on stage.
The artist KURT SCHWITTERS was born in Hanover in 1887 and lived there until in 1937 he became an exile, first in Norway and then, for the last eight years of his life, in Britain. Since his untimely death in Cumbria in 1948, where he had continued to work in relative obscurity and poverty, his standing in the art world has rocketed, his work having had an incalculable influence on the development of post-war art.
The actor PAUL BRIGHTWELL’s recent stage appearances include a national tour of Pygmalion, playing Colonel Pickering opposite Alistair McGowan as Higgins, Thomas Putnam in The Crucible at Manchester Royal Exchange and the Duke in The Revenger’s Tragedy at Nottingham Playhouse. On screen, amongst many other roles, he was at the wheel of James Cameron’s Titanic, whilst more recently on Doctor Who he converted Bill Potts into a Cyberman.
Early versions of The Merzspiel used extracts from Russell Mills and Mike Fearon's sound installation Still Moves, by permission and with grateful thanks.
“Wonderfully dry and modest, while at the same time making its quietly passionate
case for avant-gardism, throwing the gauntlet down to everything that is preconceived, formulaic, and self-important…Beautifully judged tone…A very sane voice, it seems to me.” Simon Callow
THE MERZSPIEL ON TOUR
"Perspective is a filthy swindle."
"ETERNITY IS THE BEST POLICY"
"First, you must choose your medium. The best is, you are your own medium. But don't be serious, because seriousness belongs to a passed time. This medium, called you yourself, will tell you to take absolutely the wrong material. That is very good, because only the wrong material used in the wrong way, will give you the right picture. Or the wrong picture, when you look at it from the right angle. Or the wrong angle..."
Click on a picture to see the full image
"To busy myself with various branches of art was for me an artistic need...It was my desire not to be a specialist in one branch of art, but an artist. My aim is the Merz composite art work that embraces all branches of art in an artistic unity.
Merz stands for freedom from all fetters, for the sake of artistic creation...
Merz art strives for immediate expression by shortening the path from intuition to visual manifestation of the artwork..."
"They will receive my new work as they always have when something new presents itself: with indignation and screams of scorn."
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A recording of Kurt Schwitters performing part of his 'Ur Sonata', made on May 5, 1932 in Frankfurt by the station Süddeutschen Rundfunk