Hans Arp: Chance – Form – Language (and a FRANZWESTigation) at Hauser & Wirth
Hans Arp’s mid-20th century sculptures show the artistic concerns of their time – a reinvention of objects as something more fluid and organic. Mostly in bronze, these shapes manage to be solid but flowing.
The gallery has dotted them about on plinths, and painted the far wall a blood red, giving the sculptures a great starkness to work against and accessibility to all aspects of the works. A side wall is filled with German poems by the artist and their English translations. If the word hadn’t occurred before, the bronzes are indeed poetic. There are shapes drawn from nature and the body, but somehow inverted like an inner feeling.
Although of course it is completely out of the question, these are the kind of sculptures that would be wonderful to touch and feel. They are about the size of small children, giving them a real human element, and you can imagine the artist making the shapes and smoothing them out by hand.
Complementing Arp’s work are a few sculptures by Franz West from the late 70s to 2010. Using a completely contrasting process and aesthetic, West’s work in materials like papier-mâché and plaster show more raw and immediate interpretations of similar ideas to Arp’s.
Hans Arp was a major figure of both the Surrealist and Dada movements of the early 20th century. A multimedia artist and writer, these mature works show how an artist can master the element of chance in a solid sculptural process.
Hans Arp: Chance – Form – Language (and a FRANZWESTigation) is at Hauser & Wirth from 10th January to 1st March 2014. For further information visit the gallery’s website here.