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  • 2022HaynesPhD

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How can art practice provide a rebalancing and re-evaluation of the canonic legacy of Kurt Schwitters?

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

  • Jackie Haynes
Publication date2022
Number of pages286
Awarding Institution
  • Lancaster University
<mark>Original language</mark>English
Externally publishedYes


Through art practice-based research, this inquiry sets out to reveal and reassess the enduring contemporary resonance of art and literature by the German Dada artist Kurt Schwitters.
My methodology of ‘errantry’ goes in search of adventure, an artistic research adventure of making artwork and performance ‘on-the-move’. Commitment to my methodology has generated portable materials, processes and artwork dissemination methods by notionally walking alongside Schwitters’ oeuvre and inclining towards it, as if in conversation.
The body of new artwork foregrounded in Plates proceeds the Introduction and Navigating the Research Realm chapters, which situate my inquiry and contributions to knowledge in the overlapping fields of contemporary art, art practice-based research, feminism and scholarship of Schwitters, Dada and De Stijl. Chapter Three examines Schwitters’ short story of Augusta Bolte through performance methods, Chapter Four examines the scope and effects of my artworks in relation to Schwitters as ‘Transformative Sites’, and the Conclusion reasserts and substantiates my contributions to knowledge.
My interpretation of Schwitters’ resourcefulness adds value and an environmentally sensitive dimension of my recycled art materials, artworks and methods of dissemination. Schwitters’ dadaistic collaborations are reconfigured through my artwork by the attachment of feminist theories, methodologies and conceptualisations in the Special Collection of Feminist Strategies. I have made inroads into the over-emphasis of Merz as Schwitters’ only ‘named brand’ which tends to exclude his Tran texts and the i-poem, particularly for an anglophone audience. My artistic research unlocks collaborative insights into Dada. Texts by Melchior Vischer, Lásló Moholy-Nagy and Theo Van Doesburg’s two aliases, Aldo Camini and I.K. Bonset, illuminate Schwitters’ oeuvre through Augusta Bolte. My parallel study of Mina Loy and Schwitters exposes commonalities thrown into relief by their differences, whilst contributing to discourse on a canonically overlooked female Dadaist.