The Art Committee is very pleased to invite you to a guided tour of this exhibition, which showcases the German avant-garde artist Kurt Schwitters (1887-1948) and his artist colleagues.
Schwitters was one of the most distinctive and versatile artists of the first half of the 1900s, and the artistic tactics and strategies that he developed have greatly influenced later generations. Schwitters is presented in the company of his contemporaries and artists that he later inspired.
The French term avant-garde, which means ‘vanguard’ (at the forefront), is used to refer to experimental artists or movements that seek to oppose or alter a tradition, and to artists who work across established artistic disciplines. Vanguard artists adopt innovative strategies such as manifestos, artists’ books and mail art. Historically, avant-garde first applied to major movements, such as Dada, Futurism and Surrealism, styles that emerged in the late 1800s and ended in the 1920s and 1930s. Later, the term was used about the radical period of innovation in art, literature and fashion that emerged at the end of the 1950s and 1960s, the so-called neo-avant-garde. For the avant-garde, social and political radicalism are closely linked to artistic innovation. More than being mere stylistic movements or ‘schools’, the avant-garde is about different attitudes to life.
The exhibition opened in June and will be permanently on display at Henie Onstad Kunstsenter’s Gallery Merz, which is a completely new exhibition hall at the centre. The rooms are 430 m2 and were created as an integral part of the art centre’s original building mass in 1968. The area has so far mainly been used as a storage facility. The rooms have now been converted into a public area for art. The exhibition halls are spread over two floors, redesigned by Snøhetta. The exhibition design is developed by artist Luca Frei in collaboration with the Henie Onstad Kunstsenter.