Research & PROJECTS
One of the Stiftung Arp e.V.’s core activities is the promotion of a lively discourse on Hans Arp and Sophie Taeuber-Arp’s work. For this reason, the foundation is granting ARP-Research Fellowships. The fellowships will be awarded to both junior scholars as well as established researchers and curators whose work addresses the work of Hans Arp and Sophie Taeuber-Arp as well as its broader artistic and cultural context.
The archive and library fellowships are intended for junior scholars as well as established researchers and curators whose research project or exhibition addresses the work of Hans Arp and Sophie Taeuber-Arp and who wish to research the collection, the archive and the library in person. Depending on the scope of the research project, fellowships will be awarded for the duration of 1 to 6 months. The monthly stipend ranges from 900 to 1,200 Euros and the amount is determined by the researcher’s qualifications. Residency is required.
For the application for a fellowship please submit the following materials:
2. Publication List
3. Research Description and Plan: (3-5 pages)
4. Summary of the project (max. 500 words)
Fellows will be selected by a committee of experts.
For further information and questions, please contact Dr. Jana Teuscher.
Tel.: +49 (0)30 60 96 74 26
The next due date for applications is November 30, 2019. Please submit applications electronically to info(at)stiftungarp.de.
Dr. Margaret Roberts, Installation artist, Lecturer at Sydney College of the Arts acd National Art School, Australia
Reconstructionen – Appropriation
The research project is to examine artwork of Sophie Taeuber-Arp and Hans Arp to identify works that are appropriate for reconstruction, what form that reconstruction could take and what sense that reconstruction makes within their art practices and art writing, as well as within those of this project.
The project has been developed through several trial reconstructions of early twentieth century works. These include reconstructions of two paintings by Sophie Taeuber-Arp, Moving Circles of 1934 (http://margaretroberts.org/Move.html) and her Composition vertical-horizontal of 1916 (http://margaretroberts.org/96.html), as well as of works by other artists, including of Katarzyna Kobro of the same period. These reconstructions of artworks from the early twentieth century were made with the intention to be both faithful to their content and language while also emphasising issues and languages important now. In part, the reconstructions propose to audiences now, that they sympathise with the lives and concerns of artists practising in earlier generations, by seeing their work made again in forms that stretch the boundaries of art now, as they stretched those boundaries in their own time.
I am also motivated to rebuild a living relationship with the past that acknowledges the important differences between those times as well as the common search by people—living at different historical times—for an aesthetic language engaged with the social values and concerns of their times. My reconstructions aim to engage with the particular language and project identifiable in artwork left behind by artists who have passed on, and construct ‘replies’ that incorporate that earlier aesthetic language along with the later aesthetic language of my own time, creating a type of collaboration across generations. These reconstructions are also part of the broad practice of artistic appropriation. However, while appropriation is usually thought of as challenging modern values of originality and sole authorship, I think of my reconstructions as aimed more at challenging the modern devaluation of place.
I borrow the framework of the devaluation of place from sociologist Anthony Giddens, who identifies it as a key characteristic of the modern culture (Anthony Giddens, The Consequences of Modernity Stanford University Press: 1990, Stanford California). While this devaluation of place was customary practice by the early twentieth century when the Arps were working, the consequences predicted by Giddens are far more apparent and urgent now, nearly 100 years later. This change is behind my decisions to respond to certain works produced in the early twentieth century by acknowledging the physical place in which the work is located more explicitly than artists did then. The purpose is to communicate my appreciation of the implicit awareness of place that artists built into their work at a time when the environmental consequences of disregard for place were less obvious, or over-shadowed by more immediate crises. It is also to echo the change in the urgency of the environmental crisis from a time when the consequences of the devaluation of place were more distant, to now when they are looming large around us.
Arp’s Works on Paper and Conceptions of the Natural in 1960s America
Katie Anania, Assistant Professor of Art History, Georgia College
This project will investigate reliefs, prints, and drawings by Hans Arp that were exhibited in the United States in the long 1960s, with the aim of positioning Arp as a precursor for explorations of non-human subjectivity and non-agency. The 1960s saw an expanded scholarly interest in Old Master and modern drawings, prompting many American museums to re-consider the possibilities of exhibitions of works on paper. In particular, the Museum of Modern Art developed an ongoing program of small drawing shows that were displayed in the museum’s Penthouse Restaurant and curated by junior staff members. These drawing exhibitions doubled asfundraising initiatives for the MoMA’s Art Lending Program, as most of the included works were offered for sale. Arp’s work on paper was included in all five of such shows, as well as seventeen other exhibitions at MoMA, culminating in the 1978 exhibition Arp on Paper. My aim is to articulate the role that Arp’s collaged drawings played in promulgating chance methods for young artists, while alsoadvancing drawing’s potential as a cheap, versatile, transient, and, above all, a medium, ideal for exploring emerging ideas of non-agency in 1960s countercultures. Many American artists and critics were in dialogue with Arp’s work in the period following his death, rom 1966 to 1975. These interlocutors included Richard Tuttle, William Anastasi, and Robert Morris, who began extensively exploring drawing and line-based works. Several American art critics, in their efforts to make sense of post-minimalist drawings and sculptural practices, brought up Hans Arp in their interviews with and articles on these artists. In answer to this eager naming of Arp as a precursor by gallerists and reviewers, these contemporary artists had a variety of responses. Tuttle, for instance, admitted his appreciation for Arp’s work, and conceded to having seen Arp’s 1969 retrospective at the Guggenheim Museum, but was reluctant to engage in overt conversations with Arp’s work. Instead, Tuttle separated himself from history and formalism and began giving the object a special kind of sovereignty. Like Arp’s work, Tuttle and Anastasi’s drawings were constructed from randomly positioned pages, and both artists carried their drawings, folded, in duffel bags or pockets. By studying Arp’s graphic works and their reception, I aim to clarify the ways in which drawings and prints, by virtue of their portability, began to be treated as sovereign agents in the world.
My goal is to strengthen the first and fourth chapters of my book project, Out of Paper: Drawing, Environment, and the Body in 1960s America. The book examines the surge of new, embodied drawing practices that became commonplace among avant-garde artists inhabiting large, abandoned loft spaces in downtown New York City. I explore these developments alongside the changing notions of intimacy and privacy in the United States following World War II. I contend that the relationship forged between Arp’s historicization, his oeuvre as it was broadly re-conceived in this period, and young emerging artists in this moment, formed the basis for a new type of human-object communication.
Simon Beeson, Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture, Arts University Bournemouth
Horizontal relief sculpture
My PhD Architecture by Design at The University of Edinburgh explores ideas that relate Twentieth Century horizontal relief sculpture to architectural representation. This category of sculpture includes a wide range of works of ambiguous scale related to a horizontal base board, including works by Hans Arp, Alberto Giacometti, William Turnbull and Isamu Noguchi. This research aims to situate my practice and teaching in a discourse of architectural representation. I am particularly concerned with the 'double identity' of architectural representation: both thinking about the things we make (e.g. buildings) and the things we make to think about the things we make (e.g. drawings, models). In 1938 Sophie Taeuber-Arp (1889-1943) created Relief Rectangulaire, cercles découpés, carré peints et découpés, cubes et cylinders surgissants. The work was listed in the catalogue raisonné compiled by HugoWeber in 1948 as work number 1938/26. In the same publication this work appeared, uniquely, photographed in two formats: a vertical, wall hung relief and a horizontal, sculpture (placed on the ground). The current research explores the connection between the young architect Aldo van Eyck's encounter with Sophie Taeuber-Arp's Relief Rectangulaire. This is thought to have been a major influence on his architectural career. I am interested in various lines of enquiry, discovering more about the archive and networking with other researchers. In particular, what evidence links Aldo van Eyck to Arp and Taeuber in the Arp Archive? Does this support van Eyck's (and Arp's) reading of the 'horizontal relief' by Taeuber as architectural representation? I am interested in situating the Relief Rectangulaire (1938/26) within Taeuber's work, including her architectural design, and the importance of Relief Rectangulaire in the broader category of 'horizontal relief sculptures' of the Twentieth Century, and their contribution to thinking about architectural representation.
Emanuele Greco, Art Historian, Firenze
Arp and Italy: The reception of Hans Arp's work in the Italian artistic and cultural context
The post-doctoral research project proposed for the Arp Fellowship 2019 seeks to reconstruct the critic and artistic reception of Hans Arp's work in Italy. From the 1930s, and especially after the Second World War, there have been several documents that attest the diffusion of Arp's work all around the Italian artistic and cultural context. However, a comprehensive research that gather all these documents, as well as Arp's contacts with the critics, the artists, the cultural institutions, the collectors and the art merchants has never been published. Because of this, the project here proposed seeks to retrace the phases of Arp's reception in the Italian context, with the purpose of bringing out the networks that have allowed the recognition of Arp's figure as one of the most significant personalities in modern art. Moreover, the project intends to highlight those years between the mid-1930s and mid-1960s that were the crucial period regarding the reception of Arp's work in Italy, where, indeed, the artist's work was identified with the organic abstract sculpture; and that was the most appraised phase by the critic, as well as the most admired by the young Italian artists. The project will contain research about the key moments in the reception of Arp in Italy, like the importance of his works during the second half of the 1930s, in particular regarding the Italian artists that surrounded the Galleria del Milione in Milan, such as Licini, Fontana, Melotti, Reggiani, Soldati. Furthermore, it will be analyzed the period of the first exhibits of Arp's work at the Biennale di Venezia between the end of the 1940s and the 1950s that contributed to the diffusion and knowledge of his work. In fact, Arp's influence can be found in the research of Italian sculptors like Viani and De Toffoli, and in the experimentation of the non-figurative groups like the Gruppo Forma 1 (including Accardi, Attardi, Consagra, Dorazio, Perilli, Sanfilippo, Turcato), the Movimento Arte Concreta (such as Dorfles, Munari, Monnet), and the Gruppo Origine (composed by Balocco, Burri, Capogrossi, Colla). It will be also reconstructed the relationship that Arp held with the art critic Giuseppe Marchiori who was interested in Arp's work from the mid-1950s, dedicating him on 1964, the first monograph ever published in Italy, signing the highest point in the reception of Arp's work. The research will be achieved by reconstructing all of the studies regarding Arp's work in Italy as well as studying the main archives of Arp and the personalities that held a relationship with him and helped to diffuse his work in the Italian artistic and cultural context. By doing this, the project seeks to explain not only the different phases of Arp's reception in Italy, but also how and with which characteristics his work was received in the Italian environment, and if there have been any differences in the reception of Arp's work along time.
Cathja Hürlimann, University of the Arts Bern
Painting Techniques in the Oil Paintings (?) by Sophie Taeuber-Arp from the 1930s
This research project is part of a master's thesis in the field of conservation and restoration at the Hochschule der Ku?nste in Bern, Switzerland. On the one hand, it will explore Sophie Taeuber-Arp's artistic approach and technique, with a focus on her works on canvas from the 1930s. It will draw upon sketches, preparatory studies, and photographs as well as letters from the artist's private correspondence. Some of these sources are held in the Stiftung Arp e.V.'s archive in Berlin and will be consulted over the course of this thesis project. On the other hand, the thesis focuses on the recent appearance of phenomena such as blooming, changes in color or pronounced craquelure in works by the artist from the 1930s, the causes for which remain unexplained.
The research findings on Sophie Taueber-Arp's painting technique will be compared to other technical examinations of the artist's working methods and materials. Provisionally, these examinations will focus on works in the Kunstmuseum Bern and the Kunstmuseum Basel. If time allows, other works will also be examined and compared. These examinations involve both optical methods like infrared reflectography, UV florescence and microscopy, as well as analytical methods like FTIR and Raman. In this manner, fundamental material analysis data will be collected, which in turn will contribute to a more comprehensive understanding of Sophie Taeuber-Arp's artistic work.
The findings of the master's thesis will clarify the current condition of these works and offer a recommendation for how they should be handled.
Megan R. Luke, Associate Professor, University of Southern California, Los Angeles
Formlinge: Carola Giedion-Welcker, Hans Arp, and the Prehistory of Modern Sculpture
In 1937, Carola Giedion-Welcker published Moderne Plastik. Elemente der Wirklichkeit, Masse und Auflockerung (Modern Plastic Art: Elements of Reality, Volume and Disintegration), the first book to survey the development of modern sculpture. Produced in collaboration with the typographer Herbert Bayer, Moderne Plastik presents this recent history as a photobook. Through a dynamic visual arrangement of word and image, reader-viewers are repeatedly challenged to compare contemporary European sculpture with ancient fragments, ethnographic artifacts, Baroque monuments, and the live bodies of dancers. In short, Moderne Plastik is a visual history of contemporary art that treats photographic images as material to be worked according to new protocols of sculptural technique and perception.
The work of Hans Arp occupies a central position in this book, as, indeed, it does within Giedion-Welcker's entire intellectual enterprise. At the midpoint of its photographic gallery, examples of his sculpture are set against photographs of natural formations-boulders scattered across a glacial landscape, clumps of melting snow in a stream. Giedion-Welcker frequently set Arp's work in relationship to that of Constantin Brancusi, and in Moderne Plastik, she made analogous visual comparisons between Stone Age ritual sites and the forms shaped by the Romanian sculptor. These comparisons, engendered by the peculiar morphological distortions of photography and its halftone reproduction, make visual arguments about how we tell the history of the present. Contemporary sculptures, like prehistoric artifacts, seem to belong outside of history-insofar as history is conceived to be a written chronicle of past time. Instead, both the very new and the very old appear tethered to natural history, here presented as a primal inscription of form, genetically encoded in organic life itself.
Giedion-Welcker provocatively characterized Arp's repertoire of forms for his reliefs and plasters as Formlinge, a term devised by the ethnologist Leo Frobenius to describe the embodiment of a ceaselessly unfolding Urgeschichte (primal history) in the visible and tactile images humanity uses to find its place within the cosmos. Her reassessment of the historical claims of morphology is closely related to the reception of Arp's art by Carl Einstein, and in both their accounts, Arp repeatedly represents an atavistic return to magic and myth at the heart of technological "progress." I hope to expand our appreciation for Giedion-Welcker's understanding of sculptural time by extending my study to include Arp's collages and papiers déchirés. She felt these works were" penetrated by the destructive tear [Riß] in passing time, by death, "suggesting "a new relationship to temporality, this presence of death in life." By returning to Giedion-Welcker's writing on Arp's sculptural imagination-which she saw expressed as much in his poetry and collage as in his free-standing sculptures-I argue that his art may emerge as a key to our present efforts to reevaluate the history of modern sculpture as an art of time.
Susanne Nørregård Nielsen, Lecturer in Fine Art, Glasgow School of Art, Scotland
Pencil to Paper
I set out to make a publication centred around Sophie Taeuber-Arp's text 'Remarks on Instruction in Ornamental Design' from 1922.
As part of Glasgow International's 2018 'Across the City' programme', I exhibited 'Pencil to Paper' at Glasgow School of Art. The playful interdisciplinary work responded to Sophie Taeuber-Arp's instructions on developing patterns to form the foundation for a series of eight drawings on paper and a selection of preparatory work in two vitrines.
This group of drawings is part of my central enquiry to illuminate art works central to the early 20th century canon, to provoke new thinking on the impact of artists practice using feminine gendered materiality like textile and its influence on the development of 20th abstraction.
It also formed a vehicle for engaging with the knowledge on one can gain from working with materials, its properties and actions to see if I could gain new insight to Taeuber-Arp's work. And, particularly, a question I am very interested in: how does Taeuber-Arp's knowledge of cross stitch, tapestry and textile design inform her later work?
The publication will feature a new English translation of 'Remarks on Instruction in Ornamental Design'. The curator Jenny Brownrigg, Exhibition Director at Glasgow School of Art has agreed to write a foreword. I am delighted that Dr Walburga Krupp has agreed to write a text for the publication, looking at Taueber-Arp's work and the work of her students under the aspects of the exercises.
Another part of the content will be a visual essay based on a new set of drawings following Taeuber-Arp's instructions and a text based on the insight from the cognitive labour gained by following the instructions, combined with the research I undertook at the Stiftung during 2018.
Merse Pál Szeredi, Kassák Museum (Petófi Literary Museum), Budapest
The International Networks of Lajos Kassák's Avant-Garde Journal 'Ma' between 1920 and 1925
The focus of my research is on Lajos Kassák's avant-garde journal "Ma" (Today), published in Vienna between 1920 and 1925. In my research, I utilize the research methods of periodical studies, network studies and history of intellectuals, that allow me to raise new questions and elaborate previously not researched aspects of Kassák's avant-garde editorial practice during the first half of the 1920s.
In my research project I intend to utilize the holdings of the archives and library of the Stiftung Arp - as well as that of the Berlinische Galerie, the Bauhaus Archiv, the Kunstbibliothek and the Staatsbibliothek in Berlin - to finish my reconstruction of Kassák's and "Ma's" international networks. For Kassák, network-building became a central editorial strategy during the Vienna years. He set up contacts with most of the international avant-garde periodicals and groups throughout Europe and the world: a network that has not yet been researched in more detail. During my research in the Kassák Museum and on different sites, I have been looking for hidden pieces of correspondence as well as cross-references in the archives and periodicals of other avant-garde groups and editors, that could shed light to the details of Kassák's networks. During this preliminary research, I was able to identify three main points as the central tasks related to the reconstruction of the network of "Ma".
I apply for the Archive and Library Fellowship of the Stiftung Arp e.V. for a three-months period in 2019, between early July and late September. During these three months, I intend to finish my research on the international networks of "Ma" and Kassák between 1920 and 1925. As a result, I would (1.) complete my extensive essay in Hungarian and English on the topic, to be published in a peer-reviewed journal, as well as (2.) create an interactive visualization of "Ma's" network, based on the database I am building with the contextual data of the international publications in Kassák's journal. The latter could be used as a website, or media installation in exhibitions as well. I would also use the results of my research in my PhD dissertation and my research project and curatorial practice in the Kassák Museum.
Cole Collins, Edinburgh College of Art, The University of Edinburgh, Scotland
Abstract Feminine Forms in the Work of Hans Arp and Kurt Schwitters
In my project, “Abstract Feminine Forms in the Work of Hans Arp and Kurt Schwitters,” I consider the abstract forms of Hans Arp’s and Kurt Schwitters’ sculptures as potentially feminist depictions of the female form. In this project I will consider the abstraction or decontextualisation of the female body through the Schwittersian notion of Entformung (unforming or dissociation) and through the feminist-queer idea set forth by Jack Halberstam. The latter proposes that a woman does not have to “become woman” but rather can “unbecome woman.” (J. Halberstam, The Queer Art of Failure. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2011, p.12.5). In this the definitions of femalehood, woman, and feminine are all skewed or recontextualised by a queering of gender.
I also explore notions of womanhood as defined by explorations of motherhood in both Schwitters’ and Arp’s work: in Schwitters’ collages and sculptures, I consider his representation of the Madonna, or Mother of God; and in Arp’s sculptures, I focus on his concentration on the navel. The Madonna is a feat of conventional motherhood, impregnated while maintaining her virginity, and so contravenes traditional notions of motherhood and conception. The navel is unformed in the works of Arp and particularly in his sculptures, it is hollowed out. The navel is the initial and life-giving attachment the foetus has with the mother, and once we leave the womb, the umbilical cord is detached from the mother, and the navel heals. However, the navels are never healed in Arp’s sculptures, and so their unformedness questions the notions of motherhood and subverts traditional biological functions. As such, I propose that both queer and feminist theories might be used to analyse these depictions. Beginning with the notions of unbecoming, unbeing, and conditional language that creates, or rather destructs, the image of woman as proposed by Halberstam, I examine how this might translate into sculpture using abstraction and collage, and incorporate other queer and feminist theorists such as Judith Butler, Lauren Berlant, and Michael Warner, among others.
Dr. Chara Kolokytha, Northcumbria University, England
Hans Arp’s Collaboration with the Art Magazine and Gallery Cahiers d’Art
The project seeks to reassess Hans Arp’s collaboration with the art magazine and gallery Cahiers d’Art. It takes as a point of departure Jan Brzekowski’s presentation of Arp’s art in terms of suppression of the system of –isms in Cahiers d’Art in 1934 and proceeds with the close examination of Arp’s formal qualities that secured him a place in Christian Zervos’ magazine and gallery. Arp sought to inscribe his art in collective efforts, as evinced in his participation in the Abstraction-Creation and Cercle et Carré groups as well as his early book The isms in Art, which he co-authored with El Lissitsky in 1925. However, his art was presented in Cahiers d’Art as the epitome of individual expression. My research proposes to shed light on the individualist and collectivist aspirations of Arp, his biomorphic approach to form as opposed to the anti-naturalist viewpoint of non-objective art and the way these qualities affected the reception of his work by formalist critics of the order of Zervos. The views presented in Brzekowski’s 1934 article on Arp and Sophie Tauber-Arp were in keeping with the policies of the Cahiers d’Art magazine and gallery that favoured the presentation of individual expression as well as with Zervos’ 1935 text “Les Derniers Aspects de l’Art Non-figuratif” published in the volume Histoire de l’Art Contemporaine: La Peinture, which was edited by René Huyghe and Germain Bazin. Together with Joan Miró and André Masson, Arp is listed as one of the three most promising artists of the young generation and is praised for his individual expression.
Following the exhibition “Abstrakte Malerei und Plastik” at the Zurich Kunsthaus in 1934 and Zervos’ conflict with Sigfried Giedion and the direction of the Kunsthaus over the selection of the artists for the show, it is interesting that Arp continued to collaborate with Zervos due to the latter’s appreciation of the plastic qualities of his art. It is important that the magazine did not espouse abstraction in terms of non-objective approach to form. A 1931 survey published in Cahiers d’Art called upon artists to comment on four common accusations against abstract style: its cerebral excessiveness, its geometric objectiveness at the expense of emotion, its ornamental character, its limited possibilities for formal evolution and development. The survey sought to prove, as mentioned in a relevant note, the magazine’s impartiality with regards to contemporary expression. It included responses by Piet Mondrian, Hans Arp, Wassily Kandinsky, Fernand Léger and Willy Baumeister. Although Kandinsky and Léger distanced themselves from the concept, Arp, Baumeister and Mondrian appeared more apologetic. The project seeks to fill critical gaps in the broader understanding of Arp’s dedication to abstract form and to reassess the aspect of individualism and naturalism in his art through the close examination of a series of texts, archives and exhibitions relating to his collaboration with Cahiers d’Art.
Sabine Kriebel, University of Cork, Ireland
Arp Constructed: Photography and the Reproduction of Legacy
This project proposes looking at the corpus of photographs that Arp had taken of himself and his work, beginning in the mid 1920s and reaching into the 1960s, in order to study the interpenetrations of subjectivity and sculpture as mediated by the camera. I intend to analyze not only the deliberately staged portraits of Self, in which the artist presents a particular if ever-shifting persona for the camera, but also Arp’s self-portraits with his sculptural objects, attending to the way artistic identity and sculpture constitute one another within the photographic frame and beyond. Photography transforms its objects, manufacturing a semiotic structure — a significant thing — out of the matrix of the banal everyday world. What new iterations of Arp and his sculptural work did his photographs summon into being?
Though the portraits are meant to be iconic, I am particularly interested in the serial and processual aspect of their making, which includes the “mistakes” and “failures” as well as widely reproduced pictures. I therefore intend to map the changing rhetorical modes of his photographs vis-à-vis his shifting ambitions for public presentation. Ranging from play to introspection, from active agent to protected recipient, Arp’s photographs of himself and his sculpture narrate a mutating sensibility of his artistic self-presentation to the public and what it means to be a maker of abstract sculpture in the twentieth century.
Drawing on the compelling body of recent scholarship that interrogates the photographic representation of sculpture, I will embed this study of Arp’s sculptural self-portraiture in my current research into the technological representation of the individual in the interwar era, framed by the concurrent development of psychoanalysis. The study of Arp’s incorporation of photography into his practice will thus be informed by recent and ongoing scholarship pertaining on the interpenetrations of medium, subject construction, and history. Rather than reinstate the myth of the artist as lone creator, this study of Arp’s self-portraits emphasises Arp’s collaboration with the photographer. Often treated as a transparent picture, the photograph is of course a mediated interaction between and among the operator, the photographic apparatus, and the subject. It is through such photographs – both of the artist and of his work — that his reputation is circulated and reinforced. But they are constructions, mediated by a camera, whose terms and stakes this project seeks to lay bare.
Gabriele Mahn, Independent Art Historian, Paris, France
Sophie Taeuber-Arp and Hans Arp: New Aspects of their Collaboration
Gabriele Mahn's project centres on the artist couple Sophie Taeuber-Arp and Hans Arp’s collaborative works. On the one hand, she is interested in the connections between specific works. On the other, she would like to engage with lesser-studied works. Additionally, she will analyse both artists’ comments on certain groups of work that have not yet been clearly identified. The rich holdings of library of the Stiftung Arp, e.V. will also lend insight into the lesser known aspects of the artists’ collaboration, including the Duo works and especially the Duo Collages.
Art historians have not yet been able to clarify the precise nature of the artist couple’s collaboration on the wood sculptures. It is therefore her aim to illuminate the context in which these works were created by closely examining a series of sketches for wood sculptures by Sophie Taueber-Arp. Some of these were never realized as sculptures, and some of the sketches are lost, although old photographs testify to their existence. One exception is the Construction Drawing (Konstruktionszeichnung) (c. 1930) in the collection of the Stiftung Arp. Taeuber-Arp’s sketches are closely related to the wood sculptures Hans Arp created before he began working in plaster, such as Forest Table (Waldtisch). Additionally, there is a connection between the Construction Drawing and sculptures where Sophie Taeuber-Arp is named as co-creator, such as One Large and Two Small (Ein Grosser und zwei Kleine) (1931) and Tie and Navel (Kravatte und Nabel) (c. 1931). Gabriele Mahn will also analyse the material and aesthetic qualities of collaborative wood sculptures such as Marriage Sculpture (Ehe-Plastik) (1937) and Guidepost (Wegweiser) (1938), and works like Sophie Taeuber-Arp’s Untitled (1937), a head of turned wood. Mahn's overarching goal is to demonstrate the mutual influence these collaborative works had on the individual artists.
Susanne Nørregård Nielsen, Lecturer in Fine Art, Glasgow School of Art, Scotland
Pencil to Paper
My recent and current work investigates the influence of textiles on early twentieth-century visual art, in particular abstract painting and the development of the modernist textile.
In this project a practice-led methodology of engagement with Sophie Taeuber Arp’s text “Bemerkungen über den Unterricht im ornamentalen Entwerfen” from 1922 will be employed, treating the text for developing design for textiles by Sophie Taeuber Arp as a set of systematic rules. The text will form the foundation for a series of drawings on paper using pencil, gouache and ink, following the rules in the order Sophie Taeuber-Arp set them out in the text. The rules can be divided into two groups. Firstly, eight rules explore form: square, circle and line. Secondly, eight rules explore basic colour theory like complementary colour, neutrals, hue and tone.
I am interested to see if the deployment of interpretive responses to the instructions will produce new insights into the role of Sophie Taeuber-Arp’s practice across disciplines, whether textiles, works on paper, canvases, or objects. Insights gained from making this body of drawings will enable me to formulate new working strategies for practice-led research as well as new knowledge on the influence of Sophie Taeuber-Arp’s textiles on early twentieth-century visual art.
A second aspect is to explore the potential to produce a publication. The book would include a section with the suggestions/rules from the text and a translation. By creating this book, I would set out possibilities for artists, students and researchers in textile design to explore the cognitive labour gained from materials and practice in order to gain new insight into Sophie-Taeuber-Arp’s thought and practice. Equally important, by following the inherent playfulness in the text, its suggestions/rules can enable development of new ideas and patterns for tomorrow. This could be an interesting way for a new generation of students to engage with Sophie Taeuber-Arp’s practice on a new ground.
Cécile Bargues, Art Historian and Curator, Paris
Jean Arp, Sophie Taeuber-Arp and Dada’s Afterlife. A Reflection on the Dialectics of Destruction and (Re-)Construction
The research project addresses the work of Jean Arp and Sophie Taeuer-Arp in the context of Dada’s afterlife. The purpose of the project is twofold. Firstly, the fellowship will support research on Jean Arp, Taeuber-Arp and Ellsworth Kelly. It will lead to the construction of a section of a large exhibition Cécile Bargues is currently co-curating at the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris on art in Western Europe from 1948-1956. The theoretical approach will focus on the ideas of modularity, random order, and impersonality as developed in collaborative Dada works by Arp and Taeuber-Arp, and as advanced by Kelly after his encounter with Arp. Secondly, the fellowship will support broader research on Dada’s afterlife that explores the dialectics of destruction and (re-)construction that is central to Dada, and more specifically to Arp’s oeuvre, from a historical, material, and object-based perspective. Considering Dada to be a specific target of repression for authoritarian and totalitarian regimes from the Thirties onward, Ms. Bargues will investigate and catalogue the destructions and losses of Dada art, including that of Arp and Taeuber-Arp. Her aim is to document a moment of oblivion, dispersion and exile, from the point of view of the history of objects. The research will then shift to the strategy of reproduction that emerges after World War Two in Dada circles, in relation to Dada retrospective exhibitions and the publications of Dada memories and histories (mostly written by Dadaists themselves). In that period Arp reconstructed a whole body of his own art and that of Sophie Taeuber-Arp, as well as a few works by others such as Marcel Janco. Such a practice of “remaking” will be compared with the similar Dadaist attitudes of Marcel Janco, Hans Richter and Raul Hausmann. The research examines art as survival, the endowment of art, the chronology of the so-called avant-garde, the value of a work of art, exhibition copy, and the notion of object as memory. It involves artists fighting against oblivion and making their own history. It also questions the notion of authorship, up to its dissolution in the replicas of others’ works as well as the specific quality of a non-eternal work of ephemeral art, of art as trace, as archive, and as an always-potential image.
Alessandro Ferraro, Art Historian, Genova
The Arps and their Artists Colleagues in the 1940s – The Groupe de Grasse
Alessandro Ferraro’s research project is divided into two parts. On one hand, he will consider and recover all the information written about the Groupe de Grasse in order to evaluate the artist’s contribution to the group. The Grasse group was a loose association of artists living and working in Grasse a small town in the south of France. The second part of his research will be dedicated to the history of the Grasse years from the point of view of Hans Arp and Sophie Taeuber-Arp, giving priority not only to biography but also focusing on the artistic significance of known works from the period. Specifically, the project will analyze the editorial case of Aux Norritures Terrestres, realized by Hans Arp, Sonia Delaunay, Alberto Magnelli and Sophie Tauber-Arp. The portfolio was published only in 1950, seven years after the death of Sophie Taeuber-Arp. Great attention will also be paid to the extra-artistic contribution of some parallel works, such as Hans Arp’s poems and Sophie Tauber Arp’s landscapes coming from the Musée d’art et d’histoire de Provence.
Masashi Futakami, Professor of Sculpture at Hokkaido University of Education, Hokkaido
A study of abstract sculpture education method on the basis of form creations by Hans Arp
Masashi Futakami will analyze the artistic formal language of Hans Arp, who established a new process in molding abstract sculpture. Based on the analysis of Arp’s sculptural practice, the research project will result in a method for teaching abstract sculpture for secondary school students in Japan. With his study, Futakami aims to further originality in art education.
During his stay in Berlin, Futakami will create a photographic archive documenting Hans Arp’s molding process and the form of the resultant works. Furthermore, this archive will help him develop a grammar of the molding process that will be based on the visual language studies of György Kepes as well as on the sculptural techniques of László Moholy-Nagy and Wassily Kandinsky. The photographic archive of Arp's sculpture and the results of the research on the grammar of the molding process will form the basis for developing models for teaching abstract sculpture to beginning art students. In order to develop a model for upper-level students, Futakami will deepen his analysis of the working process of Arp and will seek to understand the artist within the broader context of the avant-garde movements of his time. He will study Arp’s involvement with Dada and Surrealism as well as his poetry and essays.
Report Masashi Futakami
Tessa Paneth-Pollak, Art Historian, Michigan State University, East Lansing
Definite Means: Arps „Cut-Outs“
What is a “cut-out”? This compound noun has been used by art historians to designate the compositions that Henri Matisse made from colorful cut paper from 1931 until his death in 1954. But the term has functioned primarily to distinguish these late works by Matisse from the papier collé and collage techniques pioneered by Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque in the 1910s, which are thought to be more innovative and radical. The “cut-out” itself, meanwhile, remains poorly understood.
Paneth-Pollak’s study is the first not only to tell the story of the cut-out in the twentieth-century but also the first attempt account for the cut-out’s stakes for the artistic period of modernism. Paneth-Pollak argues that artists turned to the cut-out in the twentieth century to answer urgent questions about the abstract artwork in the period and negotiate some of modernism’s key dialectics—namely, between the organic and the mechanic and between vitality and violence. In the sequence of her study, however, Matisse’s well-known cut- outs in fact mark a point of culmination rather than a point of origin. Instead, the book positions Arp as a central and pivotal figure in the history of the modernist cut-out, who finds in the cut- out a “definite means” to respond to four devices central to avant-garde practice of the 1910s and 1920s—collage, painterly abstraction, typography, and photomontage. Paneth-Pollak will use her research stay to deepen her knowledge about Hans Arp in the context of the described project.
Catherine Craft, Art Historian, Nasher Sculpture Center Dallas
In September 2018, the Nasher Sculpture Center in Dallas, Texas will present The Nature of Arp: Sculptures, Reliefs, Works on Paper, the first major museum exhibition in the US in almost three decades to examine the seminal achievements of the artist Hans Arp. In a 1920 collaborative text published under the pseudonym Alexander Partens, Arp declared that he wanted "immediate and direct production, like a stone breaking away from a cliff, a bud bursting, an animal reproducing." The Nature of Arp will explore how Arp achieved this ambition by seeking ways of making art through creative strategies analogous to the operations of nature, in particular what Arp called "the laws of chance;" cycles of birth, growth and transformation; and the unremitting persistence of entropy, death, and decay. The exhibition will bring together approximately 80 objects across a variety of media spanning all periods of the artist's career and will be accompanied by a fully illustrated scholarly catalogue, for which I will be providing the lead essay and inviting contributions from other scholars. As curator of the exhibition, I also devised the exhibition's title, The Nature of Arp, to indicate my interest in exploring other aspects of the "nature," i.e. the disposition, of Arp's life, work, and career. These other aspects are currently focused on three areas: Arp's relationships with other artists, his role in the creation and sustaining of art-world networks, and the circulation of art objects within these networks; the role of installation and exhibitions in the presentation of his works; and his radical approach to the concepts of originality and creativity. My research plan for the archive and library fellowship at the Stiftung Arp e.V. is based on the scope of this exhibition project.
Denis Lomtev, Music- and Art Historian, Moscow
The research project addresses a particular aspect of the multi-faceted artistic transfer between the cultural spheres of Western Europe and Russia. Specifically, it analyses Hans Arp's reception of the Russian Avant-Garde and how their members were receptive to Arp's ideas. The intellectual and artistic exchange between Arp and his Russian counterparts, as mediated by El Lissitzsky (1890-1941), will be studied at the Archive and Library of the Stiftung Arp e.V.
Of particular interest is the Franco-German artist's experimentation with Alexander Rodchenko's (1891-1956) concepts of space. The relationship between Rodchenko's photographs, photomontages and his collage techniques, which has much in common with Arp technique of collage, will also be studied. The director Sergei Eisenstein (1898-1948), whose name is inseparable from Russian film history, acted in the experimental film Everyday, which was filmed after a scenario of Arp in 1929. Arp's concept of a so-called primer on the Avant-Garde also provides a key to better understanding of the context the artistic exchange between Arp and Lissitzsky. Special attention will therefore be paid to their collaboration on the 1925 publication The Isms of Art (Die Kunstismen).
A further aspect of their encounter, Lissitzsky's photographic portrait of Arp, establishes a link to the literature of the Russian Avant-Garde. Lissitzsky incorporated the photograph into his cover design for Notes of a Poet (1927) by Ilja Selvinskij (1899-1968), the Russian Constructivist poet and playwright. As the text refers to the creative arena of the Dadas, Arp's cover portrait thus epitomizes the artistic and literary movement in this Russian context.
Marcelo Mari, Art Historian, Universidade de Brasilia
The project aims to study the importance of the exhibition of works by Sophie Taeuber-Arp at the Third Biennial of São Paulo in Brazil for the consolidation of the constructive trend in Brazilian art during the 1950s and early 1960s. It was a great exhibition of her work, showing 41 paintings of various sizes. No doubt the presentation of Taeuber-Arp was the greatest contribution of the Swiss delegation to the Biennial after the award won by Max Bill in its first edition in 1951.
It was a time when countries facing Cold War sought to recover or affirm their leading position in the international cultural scene. The art world was increasingly polarized by disputes between the US and USSR. One way or another, critics and curators of these countries made use of the power and the conviction of their ideas in the struggle fought since the beginning of the Biennial of São Paulo. In this context the case of France is exemplary. The exhibitions were covering the period from the nineteenth century to the contemporary and were emphasizing nothing less than the School of Paris, led by mentors and personalities such as Germain Bazin and René Huyghe. Beside of France, the focus of the new momentum of the visual arts was on the other side of the Atlantic, in the United States, specifically in New York, which had become the new center of modern art. In the clash period between constructive art and informal art, the US were featuring informal art at the Biennial of 1957 and 1959 with the active presence and influential will of Alfred H. Barr Jr. and Sam Hunter. The Swiss concrete art pointed the other way, a way which interested the Brazilian and South American artists. Max Bill and Sophie Taeuber-Arp represented at that time the constructive contribution to international modern art, which was resisting the fashion imported from New York with Abstract Expressionism and European Informal Art. Although the Taeuber-Arp exhibition has been consolidated the constructive trend in Brazilian art, little information exists about the reasons why the Swiss delegation organized the big exhibition of her work in Sao Paulo. To deepen the knowledge about these reasons it is important to research and raise primary sources, to provide a plausible explanation of the confluence of the constructive trend in the art of Sophie Taeuber-Arp and Brazilian artists in the 1950s.
Report of Professor Marcelo Mari about his research stay at the Arp Foundation
Theopisti Stylianou-Lambert, Museologist, Photographer, Cyprus University of Technology
Despite the acknowledgement that everyday photography and photographic archives can elicit different meanings and narratives over time and depending on who views them, there is not much in-depth research into artists' vernacular photography. Ironically, photographs owned by artists are more likely to be catalogued, archived and preserved for future generations than many other types of vernacular photography because of their assumed historical value. Unfortunately, the use of such archives has been limited since vernacular photography produced or owned by artists is traditionally used to inform art historical narratives and artist biographies. What is usually ignored, and thus understudied, is the meaning of these photographs to the artists themselves and to contemporary viewers. Additionally, further investigation is needed to understand how these meanings are created, enacted or suggested. This research project investigates what happens over time to the materiality, meanings and uses of vernacular photographs owned by artists. The photographic archive of the artists Hans Arp and Sophie Taeuber-Arp, now at the Stiftung Arp e.V., will serve as a case study for investigating not the life of the artists per se, but the life of their photographs. That is, how the meaning of vernacular photography owned by the artists has shifted over time when used in different social and historical spheres as well as in various media (ex. albums, newspapers, exhibitions etc.). In order to understand the use and meaning of these photographs through time, I plan to examine the production, use and consumption of the photographs while the artists were alive as well as after their death. This should provide valuable information about how the artists viewed themselves and wished to present themselves to others. The research will provide evidence of a personal life narrative and sense of self-identity. On the other hand, examining a photographic archive after the artists' death, and the use of this archive by art historians in various publications and museum settings, will tell us a lot about how vernacular photography can be transformed to support other narratives. In other words, how an initially personal life narrative can be transformed to support an art historical narrative. Questions about the indexicality (what is it that we see), materiality (printed vs digital) and meaning of photography (for various "actors") are crucial in this examination. The photographs owned by the artists are examined against two visual communication systems: that of the family album and that of art history. Furthermore, the results are expected to contribute to the debates related to vernacular photography, performance and identity as well as the debates on the value and meaning of vernacular photography.
Report of Theopisti Stylianou-Lambert about her research stay at the Stiftung Arp in 2016
Martin Blank, Sculptor, Antwerpen
The plaster casts in the Stiftung Arp e.V.’s collection lend significant insight to the sculptor Hans Arp’s studio practice. This project aims to reconstruct the role of individual plaster casts within Arp’s artistic process and in his methods of fabrication. Its first phase involves the examination of all the plaster casts in the collection for traces of modification. The second phase builds upon the results of this initial investigation to develop a precise technical terminology for Hans Arp’s plaster casts that can then serve as a basis for subsequent research on specific casts. In the third phase, all of the plaster casts in the collection will be catalogued according to this terminology. Martin Blank, a sculptor who teaches the traditional methods for creating plaster casts at the Academy in Antwerp, will carry out this research. Cross-referencing research findings art historical dates, the development of the technical terminology and its standardization for future research will be carried out in close collaboration with Arie Hartog, the editor of the recent catalog of Arp’s sculpture whose research has focused on the artist’s studio practice for many years.
Stephanie Buhmann, Art Historian, Curator, New York
„A Transatlantic Friendship—Hans Arp, Sophie Taueber-Arp and Frederick Kiesler“ analyzes the friendship and the lively correspondence among Hans Arp, Sophie Taeuber-Arp and Frederick Kiesler (1890-1965), an Austrian artist who moved to New York in 1926. The three had met in Europe during the 1920s. Their geographic separation facilitated an intense written dialogue, in which they exchanged ideas about surrealism, avant-garde theater, abstract poetry and the concept of spatial art. The research project A TRANSATLANTIC FRIENDSHIP gathers and analyzes the documented correspondence between Hans Arp, Sophie Taeuber-Arp and Frederick Kiesler as well as sources related to their friendship written by other artists and figures from the art world. Additionally, the three artists’ works will be discussed as they pertain to their exchange and exemplify their parallel interests and artistic goals.
Agathe Mareuge, Specialist in German Studies, University of Paris-Sorbonne
This research project involves planning a critical edition of Hans Arp’s literary oeuvre that encompasses his poetry and essayistic writings in both German and French. The aim is not merely to document Arp’s poetry, but rather to evaluate and contextualize the significance of its poetological and aesthetic strategies within the post-war European avant-garde. The critical edition will lend insight to Arp’s poetic and artistic processes, which are often similar in approach and technique. It will also present Arp’s editorial activity as an important aspect of his poetics. Moreover, his role as editor led him to become one of the first literary historians of the Dada movement. A complete edition with comprehensive notes, critical commentary and an index will reveal much about these diverse aspects of this Dada poet’s oeuvre. Additionally, it will offer a scholarly basis for further engagement with Arp’s work and with the broader legacy of the European avant-garde. The fellowship will facilitate an investigation of the correspondence, first editions and additional primary and secondary literature held at the Stiftung Arp e.V.’s archive and library. It will then result in a sustainable concept for such a critical edition and the definition of its concrete parameters.
Eric Robertson, School of Modern Languages, Literatures and Cultures, Royal Holloway, University of London
The purpose of the proposed research is twofold, and relates to the long-standing critical engagement of Eric Robertson with the work of Hans Jean Arp. Firstly the research will entail close scrutiny of the correspondence and other documentation concerning Arp’s relationship with Curt Valentin. In particular, the study will be based on a close analysis of Dreams and Projects, the volume that Arp produced with the assistance of Valentin. Secondly the stay at the archive and library of the Stiftung Arp e.V. will support the research for a single-authored study on Hans Arp accompanying a major exhibition of Arp’s work at the Hepworth Wakefield in 2016. The access to the extensive Arp correspondence, as well as to the plasters and other works held in the Stiftung, will allow Robertson to reflect anew upon the creative processes underpinning his work in its various forms.
Marta Smolińska, Art Historian, University of Arts, Poznań
This research project concerns haptic perception and the role of touch in the art and theory of Hans Arp. As in the work of Henry Moore and Constantin Brâncuși, tactility plays a prominent role in Arp’s sculpture. However, a thorough study of haptic perception in the work of Arp has not yet been realized. This project therefore focuses on those works by Arp that can be understood in terms of the „haptic” as defined by Alois Riegl. Furthermore, Arp’s work is critical to the broader understanding of the role of touch in modern and contemporary art. Many artists whose work engages with tactile sense have cited Arp’s sculpture as a significant source of inspiration. Thus, the project’s goal is to develop a definition of the haptic and the tactile in Arp’s work through a study of his sculpture and archival material housed at the Stiftung Arp, e.V. Ultimately, it will not only further a novel methodological approach to Hans Arp’s sculptures, but also establish a new or modified definition of the haptic or tactile in art.
Brandon Taylor, Professor Emeritus in History of Art, University of Southampton and Tutor in History and Theory of Art, University of Oxford, UK
Taylors research will examine features of Hans Arp's reception in the USA in the 1940s and 1950s, a topic of particular interest in view of the special artistic and political currents then active in the USA contrasted with the values and aspirations of European Dada. A starting point will be the so-called Duet Drawings and torn collages made jointly by Hans and Sophie Taeuber-Arp at certain moments from the 1930s, together with the first group of marble and stone sculptures undertaken by Hans Arp in the 1930s which can be said to have evaded traditional models of formal sculptural wholeness in favour of a folding or doubling of patterns of formal coherence; that is, to have approached formal incoherence, and done so for particular reasons. The clash of 'wholeness' models here evokes the research programmes of so-called Gestalt Theory in psychology of the Berlin School as well as the broader Ganzheitspsychologie of the Leipzig theorists of the 1920s and 30s. These models of perception and cognition were criticised or extended within the flowering of European phenomenology and existentialism; however the latter also did not translate without essential variation into the culture of post-war America. The career of Hans Arp's former Dada ally Richard Huelsenbeck provides a relevant case study of those and similar tensions. Taylors research will pay particular attention to the textual and photographic content of publications such as On My Way in the celebrated Documents of Modern Art series edited by Robert Motherwell and published by Wittenborn Schulz in 1947; Arp's contributions to the anthology The Dada Painters and Poets, again edited by Motherwell and published in 1951; the reception of Arp's one-person exhibitions at the Buchholz Gallery, 1949 and 1950; and the presentation of the major retrospective Hans Arp at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, in 1958. The further context is the conference 'Hans Arp and the USA', to be held at the Stiftung Arp e.V. in June 2015.