For the Summer Chisenhale Gallery hosts 27 Senses, an exhibition curated by Lina Dzuverovic and produced by Electra. 27 Senses is a group exhibition arriving at Chisenhale Gallery from the Norwegian fjords, based around the participating artists’ investigation into a forgotten moment in the life of seminal artist Kurt Schwitters.
Emerging out of a research trip in 2007 to the Schwitters Hütte - a small hut on the remote island of Hjertøya that the artist inhabited and transformed during his exile from Germany in the 1930s – the project developed in close dialogue with a unique site. Yet in its own subjective and heavily abstracted way, 27 Senses stretches beyond locality and speaks also of the very abandonment of a place. In focus here is the idea of stopping and starting, the notion that Schwitters was forced to rebuild his life (and the Merzbau) several times due to the political situation that led to his exile from Germany to Norway and subsequently to the UK. The geopolitical conditions the artist had to navigate continuously induced as well as restricted movement, making the relationship with place fluid and temporary.
Ideas of leaving behind and starting anew remain central to the new reincarnation of 27 Senses, a move that coincides with Schwitters’ own journey from Norway to the UK in the summer of 1940. This transition is one where the artists involved in the first chapter of the exhibition will continue their dialogue with Schwitters in ways that stretch beyond historical specificity to a more intuitive and personal engagement with both a specific place and movement.
For Chisenhale, the five artists who took part in the initial 27 Senses exhibition at Kunstmuseet KUBE in 2009 will recontextualise works created in response to the visit to Schwittershutte on Hjertoya island as well as creating some pieces.
Electra is a London based contemporary art agency which specialises in curating, commissioning and producing ambitious cross-disciplinary projects by artists working across sound, moving image, performance and the visual arts.