Arp: Painter, Poet, Sculptor
Eric Robertson Yale University Press, 40 [pounds sterling]/55 [pounds sterling]
ISBN 0 300 10690 4
The notion of a 'mobile self' underpins this study of one of the last century's most pioneering artists. Hans, or Jean, Arp was equally at home speaking and writing in French, German and Alsatian. At the same time, he moved easily between painting, sculpture and poetry. It is these multiple identities that Eric Robertson explores from a post-structuralist point of view. His aim is to fill in gaps in Arp studies by elucidating the relationship between the artist's writings in German and French with his 'pictorial' output. Oddly, however, Robertson does not refer to two major exhibitions staged in 2004, 'L'Invention de la Forme' in Brussels and 'Art and Utopia' in Barcelona, both of which shed new light on Arp.
Born in Strasbourg in 1887, Arp was already participating in the vibrant artistic scene in his native Alsace as a 15-year-old. His facility with languages allowed him to swim effortlessly in art currents throughout Europe before and after the two world wars. At Wassily Kandinsky's invitation, he joined the...