Saturday, 8 July 2017

Arp: The Poetry of Forms

Fig.1 Jean Arp, Cloud Shepherd, 1953, Kröller-Müller Museum, Otterlo,
photo: Marjon Gemmeke
Hans Arp (1886-1966) was born in Strasburg, a city where the cultures of France and Germany are intertwined. A fluent speaker of French and German, Arp started off as a poet, and went on to success as a sculptor and painter in France, Germany and Switzerland. The Kröller-Müller Museum in the Netherlands is showing some 80 works of Arp, including sculptures, paintings, poetry and other publications in the exhibition “Arp: The Poetry of Forms.” (fig.2)。

Form and Poetry
Arp’s works are characterized by the sense of affection they conjure in the viewer and their wavy lines and poetic titles as seen in Sculpture to be Lost in the Forest and Pagoda Fruit. No shepherd can be identified in his representative work Cloud Shepherd (fig.1), but its ambiguous shaping and fairy tale-like title express the world view of Arp who loved poetry and a utopian world. The rounded form of the work and the protrusions that grows out from it remind one of a living creature or a growing fruit. One can sense Arp’s compassionate view of the creations and modifications that take place in the natural world.

The Universe of Arp
Fig.2 Overview Arp: The Poetry of Forms, Kröller-Müller Museum, Otterlo,
photo: Marjon Gemmeke
World War I prompted Arp to take part in the founding of Dadaism that aimed to destroy existing values. Rejecting the machine civilization and anthropocentric thinking that gave rise to the war, Arp looked for inspiration in nature or the meaningless forms in nature. Recognizing plants, clouds, stars and all natural forms in the universe along the same lines as his works, Arp created his ideal universe through abstract and soft shapes and poetry.

Arp: The Poetry of Forms : Until Sept. 18 (Closed Mondays)

Kröller-Müller Museum
Houtkampweg 6
6731 AW Otterlo
The Netherlands
Opening times:
Tuesday through Sunday and national holidays* from 10:00 to 17:00. The sculpture garden is open until 16:30.
* Easter, Ascension Day, Pentecost, Christmas, King’s Day 27 April, Liberation Day 5 May
Closed   Monday and on 1 January