Design of the exhibition Zaha Hadid: Kurt Schwitters at Galerie Gmurzynska in Zurich

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Kurt Schwitters may not be as recognizable as other key figures of Dada, such as Marcel Duchamp, Hans Arp or Max Ernst, but his contribution to the art movement (born in Zurich in 1916 by a group of creators to protest the atrocities of World War I through art, performance and writing) was nonetheless considerable. His work has influenced icons such as David Bowie, Damien Hirst, Ed Ruscha, Robert Rauschenberg and the late architect Zaha Hadid, whose firm is responsible for designing the exhibition for a current Schwitters survey at the Gmurzynska Gallery in Zurich. . On view until September 30, “Kurt Schwitters: Merz” presents around 70 sculptures, paintings, reliefs and collages from the years 1920 to 1945, from a self-portrait pasted at the beginning to an abstract relief at the end of his career. The retrospective marks Dada’s centenary in an important way: the building in which it is housed was the site of the Dada Gallery, where the first Dada exhibition took place 100 years ago.

A Zaha Hadid chandelier crowns the gallery.

Schwitters’ works contrast with the plunging curves designed by Zaha Hadid Architects, whom Galerie Gmurzynska called upon to carry out the project a year and a half ago. “The idea was to show classic Schwitters with a very avant-garde design by Zaha Hadid,” explains Mathias Rastorfer, CEO and owner of Galerie Gmurzynska. “Zaha was mainly influenced by Schwitters’ Merzbau, a famous architectural structure destroyed during WWII.”

Works by Schwitters hang on the curved walls.

Although the exhibition design was incomplete at the time of his death, Hadid gave the gallery – and Patrik Schumacher, a partner at Zaha Hadid Architects who has been with the firm since he was a student – a clear picture of the concept. . “We brainstormed the whole idea with Zaha when she was still alive,” Schumacher said. “We take a lot of our pre-existing furniture and objects, as well as a series of works by Schwitters, and create a constellation or swarm formation. Then we bind it with this connective tissue of the newly made white elements. Until September 30; gmurzynska.com


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