I am a bit obsessed with Kurt Schwitters, I am a bit in love with him. I was shown his work in 1973 at art school and I used his quote in my history of art exam: "What is art Herr Schwitters?" "What isn't?" he replied. At the time, I was seventeen, I thought it was a smart retort, not realising the depth and profundity of his reply; I did not really know Herr Schwitters, deviant artist of the Nazi regime, Dadaist, spoken word and collage artist, keeper of the found text, the disempowered culture observer at a time of surveillance, torture, exile or death. Kurt was a German refugee in England, interned and released into Ambleside and the Cumbrian countryside. On the day he received his permission he stay, he died. It was 1946 and his son had accompanied him through every exile he journeyed through Europe.
I have Jewish heritage, my family journeyed through Europe. Somewhere genes mix and become me, an artist, admirer of Dada, European sensitivity and lover of the strange; my daughter is drawn towards Otto Dix; my great uncle won a military cross in WW1 as a member of the tank regiment; horrors. Brexit is not in my lexicon.
I am working on a current theme called The Annunciation, a schoolgirl receiving the calling to take on the robes of great artists.
The Annunciation 1 is a school girl wearing Lucien Freud's scarf.
The Annunciation 2 is an adolescent girl wearing the suit of Kurt Schwitters. The hawthorn finch is a symbol of the Cumbrian landscape.
I received the call in 1973 to become a disciple to the manifesto according to Dada, Modernism and Surrealism; maybe Kurt is my Jesus.
When you see my art in any exhibition take time to remember Kurt Schwitters, his Merzbau in Hanover, Norway and Ambleside, his joy of life, his sorrow in exile and his legacy.