Creative head

Postcard from Kurt Schwitters to Hannah Höch

Postkarte von Kurt Schwitters und anderen, collagiert und handgeschrieben, 52,5 x 42,5 x 3 cm
© VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2019

This collage consists of a postcard and a round red sticker. The card shows a black-and-white portrait of the artist, but his head has been replaced by the sticker. In twirling white letters, this reads “!Anna Blume?” Under the photograph is the name “Kurt Schwitters” with his signature and other handwritten data.

They might be called kindred spirits: Merz artist Kurt Schwitters (1887–1948) and Berlin’s Dada artist Hannah Höch. They both made off-the-wall collage from photos and other media, always with a spark of poetry. This postcard from Schwitters to Höch marks the start of a lifelong friendship. It bears one of the circular sticker ads “!Anna Blume?” that Schwitters prolifically churned out. He used it as an early form of guerrilla marketing to publicise his character Anna Blume and himself, just like the fly posters for his well-known absurd poem “An Anna Blume” (translated into English by the artist himself as “To Eva Blossom”). Confusing and provoking decent citizens was all part of the fun.

On this postcard to his friend, Schwitters covers his own photo with the portrait of his creation. The sticker replaces the head, a simple ruse but a brilliant one. The man in the tidy suit becomes an artist and the creative core of his work is now the key topic. Any superficial resemblance is beside the point.

Merz-postcard from Kurt Schwitters to Hannah Höch
Postcard, collage, handwritten
52,5 x 42,5 x 3 cm
Acquired with funds from the Senate Department for Culture, Berlin 1979

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