Artwork of the month September

Hans Arp, Mirr, 1949/50

Hans Arp

* 1886 in Strassburg, † 1966 in Basel 

Mirr, 1949/50

KML 01.05

Gift of the "Stiftung zur Errichtung eines Kunstmuseums"

Hans Arp was considered as one of the outstanding artists of his time, because he found in all artistic disciplines, painting, sculpture and graphic arts, a new characteristic and distinctive vocabulary. He is known as one of the pioneers using organic-geometric forms. In 1916 he was co-founder of the Dada-movement, that group of artists and poets, who met regularly in the legendary Cabaret Voltaire in Zurich. With satiric overmoulding, Dada put the complete previous art into question. Language was a fundamental way to express and was also used by Arp himself. By this in dependence on the Dadaistic "sound poems" his works got titles as "Gur" or "Mirr".

Out of a grey-black piece of granite, Arp carved, hammered, abraded and polished his sculpture "Mirr". From the immense act of force of its creation an amorphous object with a smooth surface remained of the boulder. This form is characteristic for the artist who is known as one of the most innovative artists of his period. Unlike as the works of his con- temporaries, his geometric works are not square-edged: with their curves they compose nearly harmonic arrangements. For him the conception of the artist-as-genius is anti- quated. In his words "art is a fruit, which grows out of the human, like a fruit growing out of a plant".

But: How came Arp to these forms? Was it a pre-fixed, concrete imagination of an object that became form? Or did they come into being by a process, searching and finding the right form – are they conceived or are they sensed? These questions are essential for his sculptures. They are on the edge between sculpture and plastically modelling. When Hans Arp summed up his oeuvre he said: "I tried to be 'natural' ... the exact opposite of what teachers call 'faithful to nature' ... I looked for new constellations of form such as nature never stops producing. I tried to make forms grow."

<b>Hans Arp, Mirr, 1949/50</b>Hans Arp, Mirr, 1949/50
Hans Arp, Mirr, 1949/50

Kunstmuseum Liechtenstein highlights a work from the permanent collection each month throughout the year. Works from the collection of the Hilti Art Foundation are also included in this series on a regular basis.