Installation artist, Lecturer at Sydney College of the Arts acd National Art School, Australia
Reconstruction – 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 and her Composition vertical-horizontal of 1916, 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.
Assistant Professor of Art History, Georgia College
Arp’s Works on Paper and Conceptions of the Natural in 1960s America
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 as fundraising 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 also advancing 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.
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.
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 critical 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.
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.
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.
Lecturer in Fine Art, Glasgow School of Art, Scotland
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.
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.