Assembling the Ineffable in Kurt Schwittersâ Architectural Models
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During the early 1920s, the German artist and poet, Kurt Schwitters, developed a method of creating models of architecture using found objects based upon his Merz approach to art. While many leading architects joined the Arbeitsrat fÃ¼r Kunst and Bruno Tautâ s GlÃ¤serne Kette at the end of World War I to speculate upon what to build for the new post-war German architecture, Schwitters challenged the predominant views by probing how it could be designed through models. Compared to the normative practice of molding clay and casting plaster into scale models after completed designs, Schwitters assembled found objects into two models, Haus Merz during 1920 and Schloss und Kathedrale mit Hoffbrunnen in 1922, to imagine new combinations and transformations of material, form and space in building designs. Schwittersâ Merz interpretation of found objects as models of architecture held that all materials have an ineffable transitory content that contributes to their identities as natural or man-made utilitarian things. In the Christian medieval exegesis of religious objects, the interpretation of materials as a dichotomy of visible form and invisible content was described as â anagogy.â However, unlike this Christian conception of the invisible that was transcendental and a priori, the anagogical Merz interpretation seeks to find the invisible within the visible through the active imagination of found materials assembled as a model of architecture. This dissertation examines Schwittersâ proposed use of found objects to construct architectural models as an anagogical approach to the material imagination of architecture.
- Doctoral Dissertations