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Knots

Adam Chodzko

United Kingdom, 2013
8 minutes, Colour, 5.1 Surround, 16:9
Original format: HD video
Available formats: HD Digital file / BluRay

In Knots, Adam Chodzko focuses on the remote but important relationship between the artist Kurt Schwitters in the final years of his life in the late 1940’s, living in poverty (and exile) in England’s Lake District, and J. Edgar Kaufmann, the wealthy owner of the Kaufman Department Store in Pittsburgh, USA. Kaufmann had arranged for money to be wired to Schwitters so that he could develop a new Merz structure. Chodzko, playing with the idea of trying to draw everything together and tie up the loose ends of this narrative (for an exhibition at the Tate) imagines the now empty Merzbarn (Schwitters final work having been removed to a Newcastle museum in 1965) as a vacuum, sucking in thoughts, desires and matter, as though all caught up in the vortex of a surreal dream. Kaufmann’s had commissioned Frank Lloyd Wright to design his Pittsburgh office, a structure that itself was also later displaced, donated to the Victoria & Albert Museum, London. Chodzko sees the interior spaces that Schwitters and Kaufmann worked within as unstable, flowing, collaged together, as though becoming a Merz themselves, whilst the form of the video itself also echoes this process of construction and deconstruction.Knots is a mesmerising combination of fact and fiction, text and moving image building a story about longing, creation and fragmentation, endings and beginnings, networks of people and isolated individuals, separations and notions of home.