Strasbourg 1886 - 1966 Basel
Gouache on watercolour card. 78 x 58.7 cm. Framed under glass. Unsigned. - Faintly rubbed in few places. Mounted to card support verso at upper margin with paper adhesive tape.
Galerie Denise René, Paris / Hans Meyer, Düsseldorf
Hans Arp admired the lawful character of nature. He saw it as an artistic role model that was to be striven towards - but in terms of creating form and not in terms of imitation. “We want to create, like the plant creates its fruit, and not to recreate. We want to create directly and not indirectly.” (Hans Arp, Konkrete Kunst, in: Zweiklang: Sophie Taeuber-Arp - Hans Arp, ed. by Ernst Scheidegger, Zurich 1960, p. 73). The concept of forming and becoming, of constant transformation, would come to define Arp's abstraction. It points to the specific openness of an oeuvre that, much like nature, is defined by continuous change, development and variation.
In the early 1940s Arp was already providing his biomorphic forms with sharp-edged incisions and relativising the supple sensuality of their rounded form. What the artist saw as the ever-growing rift between the world of technology and the organic world of a freely animated nature led him to contrast the flowing line of the curve with the straight line.
His ambivalent image of the world is also reflected in the compositional principle of the negative form, which Arp introduced into his work in the late 1950s. In a dialogue with the viewer, his sculptures of those years examine the diverse potential of spatial interpretation. However, the principle of the negative form is applied not only in the “swelling sculptures” of his late work but also in his works on paper. In a manner analogous to his sculptures, the monochrome forms of the present gouache also point to the indefinite relationship between inside and outside - they are simultaneously positive and negative forms.