The Loud and the Soft Speakers

29 Sep 2018 – 11 May 2019

Hatton Gallery

Newcastle Upon Tyne, United Kingdom


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Heather Ross presents this contemporary iteration of Kurt Schwitters’ almost lost performance piece 'The Silence Poem'.


Programmed to coincide with Exploding Collage, artist Heather Ross presents The Loud and the Soft Speakers, a contemporary iteration of a performance work - The Silence Poem or Leise - by the avant-garde German artist, Kurt Schwitters.

Taking the form of an immersive two channel video, Ross’ work examines The Silence Poem as a work of creation and destruction, which Schwitters repeated across multiple sites, incorporating newfound material and environmental influences to generate something new each time. Notably, Schwitters performed and developed The Silence Poem in English whilst interned in the Hutchinson Camp on the Isle of Man during World War II. 

The Loud and the Soft Speakers – filmed on the same site and featuring musician and performance artist Florian Kaplick – employs performance as an exploratory tool for the visualisation of some of the historical and environmental influences which contributed to Schwitters experience of internment, and subsequently the development of The Silence Poem.

The Loud and the Soft Speakers is the outcome of Ross’ practice-based research excavating the varied meanings of a largely unstudied collage artwork – the ‘Pointless’ collage, also known as Untitled with Porcelain Shard – which Schwitters made a year before he commenced work on the Merz Barn

This exhibition is part of the Schwitters Legacy programme at the Hatton, an annual series of exhibitions that each examine a different facet of Schwitters’ influence on modern and contemporary art and culture.

Exhibiting artists

Heather Ross


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