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Assemble lined up for Merzbarn restoration role

Merzbarn damage
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Assemble is in discussions with owners of the Merzbarn in Cumbria over ambitious long-term restoration plans for the deteriorating arts venue

Littoral Arts Trust confirmed it was in talks with the Turner Prize-winning collective about taking on the next stages of its regeneration programme.

It is understood the practice – lauded for its restoration of terraced houses in Toxteth, Liverpool – could advise on architectural and spatial approaches to the landscaped site in Elterwater.

The group may also help with crafting a new institutional identity and pedagogical ethos for the project.

The potential collaboration came to light shortly after the trust warned Kurt Schwitters’ unfinished Merzbau installation – located in a former shed on the site – had been left ‘devastated’ by Storm Desmond.

Earlier this week Littoral called on Arts Council England and Tate director Nicholas Serota to urgently rescue the unfinished 1940s architectural installation which is at the centre of the campus.

Planned to complete in 2019, the Future of the Merzbarn restoration project will create a new arts centre and museum focussing on the pioneering Dada artist.

The first stage – expected to finish in 2017 and cost around £65,000 – will restore the damaged Merzbau shed which was originally built as part of a large gunpowder mill.

Schwitters relocated to the Lake District in 1942 after escaping the Nazis who had labelled him a ‘degenerate artist’.

On the Cylinders Estate in Elterwater he set about creating an immersive architectural installation – which he called a Merzbau.

Based on his earlier Merzbau artworks in Nazi-occupied Hannover and Norway, the ambitious project was left unfinished when the artist died in 1948.

The most complete wall was relocated to Newcastle’s Hatton Gallery in the 1960s and the remaining Merzbarn site has been used as an arts centre and museum since 2005.

Cumbria was worst hit by Storm Desmond which brought record levels of rainfall to the UK in early December 2015.

Around 5,200 homes were flooded and many communities and businesses are still recovering from the destruction.

The recent storms have been pretty hard on the Merzbarn & Cylinders estate, Ian makes an appeal.https://merzbarnlangdale.wordpress.com/the-merzbauten/

Posted by Merzbarn on Wednesday, February 10, 2016

 

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