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Art is Arp: Drawings, Collages, Reliefs, Sculptures, Poetry on View at Arp Museum
Hans (Jean) Arp, who was born in Strasbourg in 1886, is considered one of the most famous artists of the 20th century avant-garde.
REMAGEN.- Marcel Duchamp’s proclamation “For Arp, art is Arp” serves as the title for one of the most comprehensive retrospectives on Hans Arp ever undertaken. The Arp Museum Bahnof Rolandseck is showing the exhibition “Art is Arp” with over 100 drawings, collages, sculptures, and reliefs as well as ca. 80 texts, photographs, and documents through June 14, 2009. The show, which impressively highlights the most important development processes of Arp’s world of forms and thoughts, has been organized in cooperation with the Musée d’Art moderne et contemporain in Strasbourg and presents extraordinary loans from international museums, institutions, and private collections, among these being the Kunstmuseum Basel, the Centre Pompidou in Paris, and the National Gallery in Washington, D.C.

Hans (Jean) Arp, who was born in Strasbourg in 1886, is considered one of the most famous artists of the 20th century avant-garde. He was co-founder of the Zurich Dada movement, but in his extremely individual work he joined things together which would otherwise seem impossible to join: Dadaism and Surrealism, Surrealism and Constructivism. By turning away from traditional artistic techniques and towards “forming things like nature” he invented a new language of forms, in which the “lively oval” takes a central position as an original form as well as an expression of growth and metamorphosis.

One major emphasis of the exhibition is the works, for which the “laws of chance”, the process itself, and automatism emerge as the most important creative principles of the artist. He poses fundamental questions concerning the authorship of the artist. This approach culminates in cooperative works, which Arp undertook together with other artists such as Max Ernst, Sonia Delaunay, and Alberto Magnelli, but especially those he created with his wife Sophie Taeuber-Arp. With her and Theo van Doesburg Arp made the Strasbourg “Aubette” into an amusement complex according to an American model. As one of the first avant-gardist works conceptualized as a Gesamtkunstwerk, this project exemplified the idea of the constant expansion of painting and architecture.

In addition, this exhibition places Arp’s high-quality literary work in an exciting relationship to his pictorial work. In addition to many texts, it will be possible to listen to tape recordings of his poetry, which make clear how he surpassed all conventional rules of language.

The exhibition is supplemented with an attractive accompanying program with tours by museum curators, a sculpture course, as well as a demonstration in bronze-casting by Rhineland-Palatinate artist Hans-Bernhard Olleck. It will end with a reading by poet Hans Thill on the concluding day of the exhibition, 14 June 2009.

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