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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.


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.


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


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.

Report Tessa Paneth-Pollak