Revolving: Kurt Schwitters

Kurt Schwitters is known for his use of raw and unique materials in the composition of a collage. His piece, called “Revolving” is one of his earliest forms of this style. This piece was the beginning of a huge shift in Schitter’s work that originally consisted of very conservative painting. Schwitter lived through the World War, and he would often use the scraps and discarded material he found on the street and would arrange them to create his artwork. “Revolving” is a great example of this. He took pride in the concept of taking something destructive and making it into something he considered beautiful. The process of collecting garbage or strap material and calling it art was unordinary, especially in the times in which he lived.

In this piece of work created in 1919, he uses scrap wood, cord, cardboard, wool, leather and wire mesh and oil on canvas. He used these collections of found materials to form lines and shapes that ultimately look like clocks or revolving discs. You also see touches of paint that add extra details and shading to the image. I think his use of earth tone colors still holds a strong theme of raw and natural material but it all comes together to construct one piece. This image combines the hard times of the War with the strength in unity. It;s ironic that this art wasn’t accepted during this time period because it was an innovative way to turn something dark into something beautiful or useful. You can find this piece in the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

“Any desire to produce natural forms limits the force and consistency of working out and expression” – Kurt Schwitters


Inventing abstraction. (n.d.). Retrieved April 16, 2021, from