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Farbenlicht-Spiel (Hirschfeld-Mack, Ludwig), 1921Ursonate (Schwitters, Kurt), 1922

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a Bauhaus student at the time, to conduct his first experiments with light projections. [28] His first ideas for the so-called «Farbenlicht-Spiele» (Colour-Light Games) date from 1921/22. The abstract play of coloured forms was performed at the Bauhaus in 1923, accompanied by piano music. Several fellow performers were needed to realize the score the artist had devised. The colour forms emerging from the darkness of the projection room are directly reminiscent of Klee's water-colour compositions, they are painting translating into movement. Hirschfeld-Mack said of his light projections: «…we are aiming for a fugue-like, strictly structured play of colours, always derived from a definite colour-form theme.» [29]

The Hanover Dadaist Kurt Schwitters (1897-1948) did not work with colours, but with words. His so-called «Merz art» includes all artistic fields, from architecture via painting to poetry. According to Schwitters, the word «Merz» means «bringing every conceivable material together for artistic purposes, and technically the fact that the individual materials make the same effect in principle..» [30] Perhaps it was by chance that the first Merz work happened to come into being in association with music: Schwitters had his subject,


a doctor-friend, play the piano while sitting for a portrait. When the man started to become agitated over Beethoven's «Moonlight Sonata», Schwitter intuitively glued a beer mat on to the cheek in the portrait! His first Merz poems were written around 1919, like «An Anna Blume» (To Anna Blume), for example. The «Lautsonate Merz 13» (Sound Sonata Merz 13) appeared on a gramophone record in 1924, and the «Ursonate» (Sonata with primeval sounds) was composed over a long period in several versions from 1922 to 1932. Schwitters wrote as follows in the magazine G in 1924: «It is not the word that is originally the material of poetry, it is the letter.» Thus he claims letters, or sounds, as the raw material for his poetry, like the rubbish he found in the streets and used for his material collages. Schwitters summed up his intentions in «Selbstbestimmungsrecht der Künstler» (The Artists' Right to Self-Determination) in 1919: «Merz poetry is abstract. Like Merz painting, it uses complete sentences from newspapers, posters, catalogue, conversations etc, as given elements, with and without changes. (That is terrible.) These elements do not need to fit in with the meaning, as there is no more meaning. (That is also terrible.) There are also no more

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