Jean Arp

Hans Arp, Ohne Titel, 1933 © Arp Museum Bahnhof Rolandseck, © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2023

Untitled, 1933

collage (papiers déchirés)

Hans Arp began creating his papiers déchirés in the early 1930s as an extension of the Surrealist principle of collage. The Dadaist text collages he called “cloud pumps” were, in his view, “not just automatic poems, but in fact forerunners” of this group of works. In his “hand-torn pictures,” he welcomed destruction and impermanence. He first tore up pieces of paper of various provenances, then dropped them onto a ground coated with paste. These compositions were supposed to be ruled solely by chance and the unconscious, but in some of them Arp reserved a paradoxical artistic freedom for himself with a humorous wink of the eye, repositioning the typically delicate elements and thus ordering the “laws of chance.”

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