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Exhibition celebrates 70th Anniversary of Kurt Schwitters' Merz Barn project

Exhibition celebrates 70th Anniversary of Kurt Schwitters' Merz Barn project Banner Image

The Hanover Project is set to open its doors to new exhibition ‘The Merz Show.’

Latest Hanover Project display opens

The Hanover Project is set to open its doors to new exhibition ‘The Merz Show.’ The exhibition is part of the 70th anniversary of one of the North West's great artistic achievements, Kurt Schwitters' Merz Barn project in Cumbria.

The Hanover Project, named after Schwitters' first Merz project in Hanover, will show a selection of works by artists Samantha Donnelly, Matthew Houldings, Rachel Pursglove and Tao Lashley-Burnley who are inspired by Schwitters and his work. The show will run from 9 March to 6 April with the private view being held on Thursday 9 March, 5.00pm - 7.00pm.

Tao Lashley-Burnley is an artist based in Preston, working from the Birley Street studios where he also works as a technician and curator. Speaking ahead of the exhibition, Tao explained what it is like to be a part of the celebrations.

I think it’s great anytime that there is a show that highlights Kurt Schwitters and the concept of Merz. The influence of Merz and Dada spreads to a lot of contemporary art and shows up in a lot of modern culture, design and media.

“I think it’s great anytime that there is a show that highlights Kurt Schwitters and the concept of Merz. The influence of Merz and Dada spreads to a lot of contemporary art and shows up in a lot of modern culture, design and media. I’ve been part of a residency at the Merz barn in Ambleside and there is something about that place that engenders interesting working methods and many of my current ideas are based on moments from my time there.”

Interested in architecture, phenomenology and the experience of physical space, Tao makes work using architectural building materials such as wood, plaster, cement, steel, light and Perspex to alter the spaces viewers engage with, with a common aspect of his work being the tension between spaces.

Another artist exhibiting is Rachel Pursglove. She works in a variety of media including sculpture, performance, video, animation, collage and installation. Her work explores the relationship between the pre-existing, the present and the future, combining the playful with the absurd.

She said: “Schwitters and the Merz Barn have been a great influence to me, I had the fantastic opportunity to organise a Merz Barn residency a few years ago for the MA students at UCLan. It's good to re-connect with the University and in turn pay homage to Schwitters with my participation in this show.”

Rachel says it is a privilege to be asked back to the University to exhibit her work as, along with Tao, she returns to UCLan as a graduate of the fine art course.

I’m looking forward to being in a show with the three artists; seeing how the whole show comes together and what elements tie together and highlight this anniversary.

Talking about his return to the Hanover Gallery, Tao commented: “It’s great to see the development of the space and its programme of shows; there have been some really interesting shows with great artists and it provides a good opportunity for Preston to experience these exhibitions.

“The Hanover space benefits the students immensely allowing them to meet and work with exhibiting artists and affording them the opportunity to develop their own shows and allow them to experience curating closely whilst still studying. The space stands students in good stead.”

All of the artists take inspiration from Schwitters with Samantha Donnelly's practice primarily sculptural and Matthew Houldings work made with a variety of materials, including timber, Perspex, paint and photographic imagery together with readymade objects.

Tao is looking forward to celebrating Schwitters’ anniversary.  He added: “I’m looking forward to being in a show with the three artists; seeing how the whole show comes together and what elements tie together and highlight this anniversary.”

Ellis McKeown | 08 March 2017