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Introduction

This event is supported by the European cultural Season, organized during the French Presidency of the European Union (July 1st – Dec. 31st, 2008)
Strasbourg Ville de culture  Communauté urbaine de Strasbourg  Saison culturelle européenne  Ministère de la Culture et de la Communication  Musées de France  Museum - Musées  Dernières nouvelles d'Alsace  France 3 - Alsace

© 2008 - Les Musées de la Ville de Strasbourg

 


[11]PRODUCING / REPRODUCING : LA MAIN À L’ŒUVRE
[12] PRODUCING / REPRODUCING : LA MAIN S’ABSENTE
[13] PRODUCING / REPRODUCING : SOLEIL RECERCLÉ
[14] PRODUCING / REPRODUCING : COMME LA NATURE

During his training period Arp had tried his hand at sculpture and in the early part of the 30’s he took it up again. First, we’ll explore how the sculptures came into being, the sculptor’s gestures and his modus operandi. Unlike the avant-gardist’s technical and materialist experimentation, Arp chose plaster, a neutral, highly malleable material, lacking resistance. Once shaped, its surface can be brought to life and retains traces left by the fingers, (cf.Paysage de Trêve), though more often than not, Arp exploited the material’s ductility to create smooth, flexible forms. These plasters constituted models, from which Arp generally executed several casts. Here, all of Arp’s originality shines through, as the casts were generally reused with Arp subjecting them to all sorts of operations to create new sculptures. He grafted, assembled, juxtaposed and superposed sculptures, or sculpture fragments, severing them, lengthening or shortening parts, changing the sculpture’s orientation, etc. As such, we find a certain affiliation with Rodin, to whom he incidentally paid tribute with a poem.
Secondly, one should keep in mind that these plasters were designed to be reproduced by accredited assistants, in diverse materials (bronze, marble, limestone, granite, aluminum, etc.) and dimensions, often many years later. This practice is not uncommon in the domain of sculpture, though doubtless its conception is, once again closely paralleling that of Rodin.  The notions examined, then, are those of originality and uniqueness, generally linked; a questioning owing most certainly to his first experiments with the delegation of production in the early days of Dada. Contesting the works of traditional art, Arp produced several copies of his first reliefs, entrusting a carpenter with the preparation of the wooden elements and gladly handing over the job of coloring.

Thirdly, the notion of production is examined in its metaphorical sense, according to an idea dear to Arp – sculpture doesn’t reproduce an object from nature (in the sense of imitating it), rather it’s produced like nature. Therefore, he wanted to subject his sculpture to an all-encompassing formation process containing every possible type of growth, mineral, plant, animal, human, even cosmic, defined by the term «concretion». These sculptures, designed to be as concrete as natural objects, lead to a reflection on their presentation, with respect to the question of pedestals, which Arp chose to abandon or integrated into the sculpture itself – reminding us of the esteem Arp had for Brancusi’s work.