Merz! Flux! Pop!
Henie Onstad Art Center, Norway
June 03, 2021 – May 29, 2022
The gallery presents the semi-permanent exhibition Merz! Flux! Pop!. It exhibits works by one of the founders of the avant-garde, Kurt Schwitters (1887-1948), his colleagues, and successors. Sal Merz derives its name from the art of the German artist Schwitters. For several years, he lived in Norway near the art center at Høvikodden, which also houses the most extensive collection of Schwitter’s art outside Germany. The gallery is spread over two levels and is integrated into the original building of the art center from 1968.
Schwitters was one of the most distinctive and versatile artists in the first half of the 20th century. The artistic tactics and strategies he developed have significantly impacted later generations, as the exhibition shows. Sal Merz is a fabulous starting point for further work with the avant-garde at Henie Onstad in new exhibitions and activities, says Caroline Ugelstad, chief curator at Henie Onstad Kunstsenter, who has curated the exhibition.
Merz! Flux! Pop! begins on the ground floor with a presentation of Kurt Schwitters’ year in exile in Norway. On the second floor of Sal Merz is the largest exhibition area. Here the exhibition shows Schwitters in collaboration with his contemporary and later artists. Among other things, a rich selection of Henie Onstad’s Fluxus collection has been presented, including a large cabinet that stood at the home of the American collector Jean Brown. It has been installed so that the public can open up and see the contents of the drawers.
With Sal Merz, Henie Onstad confirms its place as a central institution for extraordinary directions in art. The permanent presentation can facilitate long-term dialogue about the values and qualities that the avant-garde stood for. This will have implications for research and the public. In collaboration with Henie Onstad, the architects and Luca Frei have created a space for wonder and discovery where you as an audience can discover small and large treasures, says Hansen.
The exhibition shows more than 150 works, by artists such as Lene Berg, Kurt Schwitters, Theo van Doesburg, Constantin Brancusi, Man Ray, Juan Gris, Fernand Léger, Hannah Höch, Francis Picabia, Paul Klee, Sonia Delanuay, Jean Arp, Max Ernst, René Magritte, Joan Miró, Olav Strømme, Tadeuz Kantor, Arman, Jacqueline de Jong, Alice Hutchins, Jiří Kolář, Yoko Ono, George Maciunas and more.