Arp Jean Leaves and Navels

Arp Jean Leaves and Navels

Jean Arp. b Strasbourg. 1886. d Basle. 1966
Leaves and Navels. I. 1930. Painted wood. Museum of Modern Art. New York

Arp Jean Leaves and Navels

Small circular forms punctuate the stillness of this work, the shadows of their shapes in relief distinguishing them from the white painted wood background. They arc arranged in a harmonious pattern with no logical order, evoking the fluttering of leaves in the wind or the natural randomness of drops of rain falling on glass.

Arp’s work is characterized by its use of sensuous sculptural shapes recalling organic forms, which are highly poetic and suggestive in their delicacy. He was intimately involved with several of the Leaves and Navels, I major art movements of” the first halt” of the twentieth century, particularly the Daila movement. The Zurich Dadaists were formed in 1916 and Arp participated in many of their riotous and infamous ‘happenings’ at the Cabaret Voltaire. In his ejuest for a spontaneous, elementary art he wrote poetry, created collages, made wood reliefs (such as the one shown here) and experimented with automatic writing.