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Hans Arp (1886 – 1966)


German/French sculptor, painter, poet and a founding member of Dadaism.
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Hans Arp
It was Sophie (Taeuber, his later wife, ed.) who, by the example of her work and her life, both of them bathed in clarity, showed me the right way. In her world, the high and the low, the light and the dark, the eternal and the ephemeral, are balanced in prefect equilibrium.
Arp quotes
A painting or sculpture not modelled on any real object is every bit as concrete and sensuous as a leaf or a stone... (but) it is an incomplete art which privileges the intellect to the detriment of the senses... (art must be like, ed.) fruit that grows in man, like a fruit on a plant or a child in itís motherís womb. (circa 1930)
Arp
We do not wish to copy nature. We do not want to reproduce, we want to produce. We want to produce as a plant produces a fruit and does not itself reproduce. We want to produce directly and without meditation. As there is not the least trace of abstraction in this art, we will call it concrete art.




Arp Hans quotes
The cynicism of Dadists is a mask.
Arp Hans
Soon silence will have passed into legend. Man has turned his back on silence. Day after day he invents machines and devices that increase noise and distract humanity from the essence of life, contemplation, meditation...tooting, howling, screeching, booming, crashing, whistling, grinding, and trilling bolster his ego. His anxiety subsides. His inhuman void spreads monstrously like a gray vegetation.
Hans Arp quotes
A deep and serene silence filled her structures composed of colors and surfaces. The exclusive use of horizontal and vertical rectangular planes in the work of art, the extreme simplification, exerted a decisive influence on my work. Here I found, stripped down to the limit, the essential elements of all earthly constructions: the bursting, upward surge of the lines and the planes toward the sky, the verticality of pure life, and the vast equilibrum, the sheer horizontality and expansiveness of dreamlike peace. Her work was for me a symbol of a divinely built 'house' which man in his vanity has ravaged and sullied.(a remark on the art of Sophie Tšuber, whom he later married, ed.)
Hans Arp
Ever since my childhood, I was haunted by the search for perfection. An imperfectly cut paper literally made me ill, I would guillotine it. My collages came undone, they became blistered. I then introduced death and decay in my compositions. I reacted (around 1932, ed.) by avoiding any precision from one day to another. Instead of cutting the paper, I would tear it with my hands.
Arp Hans quotes
Dada aimed to destroy the reasonable deceptions of man and recover the natural and unreasonable order.
Arp
I allow myself to be guided by the work which is in the process of being born, I have confidence in it (automatic painting, ed.). I do not think about it. The forms arrive pleasant, or strange, hostile, inexplicable, mute, or drowsy. They are born from themselves. It seems to me as if all I do is move my hands.
Arp Hans
We painted embroidered and made collages. All these works were drawn from the simplest forms and were probably the first examples of concrete art. These works are realities pure and independent with no meaning or cerebral intention. We rejected all mimesis and description, giving free reign to the elementary and spontaneous. (circa 1916, on his cooperation with his future wife Sophie Tšuber, ed.)
Hans Arp
Revolted by the butchery of the 1914 World War, we in Zurich devoted ourselves to the arts. While guns rumbled in the distance, we sang, painted, made collages and wrote poems with all our might. We were seeking an art based on fundamentals, to cure the madness of the age, and find a new order of things that would restore the balance between heaven and hell. We had a dim premonition that power-mad gangsters would one day use art itself as a way of deadening men's minds.




Hans Arp quotes
I like nature but not its substitutes. Naturalist art, illusionism, is a substitute for nature. I remember that in arguing with Mondrian (in Paris 1920s, ed.), he opposed art to nature saying that art is artificial and nature is natural. I do not share this opinion. I do not think that nature is in natural opposition to art. Artís origins are natural.
Hans Arp
Dada is for dreams, colourful paper masks, kettle drums, sound poems, concretions, poem statiques, for things that are not far from picking flowers and making bouquets.
Arp quotes
Art is a fruit that grows in man.
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