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 will be granting ARP-Research Fellowships beginning in fall 2014. The archive and research 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.
a) 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.
b) The research fellowships are intended for junior scholars (pre- and postdoctoral), whose research engages with the work of Hans Arp and/or Sophie Taeuber-Arp. The period of support is one year, with a monthly stipend between 900 and 1,200 Euros, depending on the applicant’s qualifications. Residency is not required. However, the fellow is expected to consult the foundation’s collection and archive during the fellowship period. As a prerequisite to the application, the research project in question must be tied to a university or a research institution.
For the application for a research or archive 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. Maike Steinkamp.
Tel.: +49 (0)30 60 96 74 26
The next due date for applications is November 30, 2016. Please submit applications electronically to Dr. Maike Steinkamp: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dr. 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.
Dr. Denis Lomtev, Music- and Art Historian, Moscow
The planned 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.
Professor 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.
Dr. 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.
Martin Blank, Sculptor, Antwerp
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, M.A., Art Historian and 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.
Dr. 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.
Professor 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.
Professor 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.