At close quarters with the museum’s name givers
From the sculpture outside the buildings to various places inside: the museum's patrons, Hans Arp and Sophie Taeuber-Arp will accompany you throughout your visit.
We keep meeting them time and again, like old acquaintances; we stop for a moment, exchange a few words, look, listen and thus follow a delicate thread which is spun through the entire visit. Every year a new poem by Hans Arp will greet you in the entrance tunnel and accompany your thoughts. At listening stations with views across the surrounding countryside you can stop and listen as the poems of Hans Arp are read aloud, helping you to get to know the museum's patron a little better.
Hans Arp and his wife Sophie Taeuber-Arp do not merely give the unique museum in Rolandseck its name – a collection containing more than 400 of their works is housed in the new building by Richard Meier. It includes one of the rare joint works of these versatile and talented pioneers of abstract art.
In all the works the question that hovers is: where did these forms originate? To investigate them by touching is an understandable instinct. Please do not succumb to it!
You can experience the Arps with (almost) all the senses – and this also applies to the Richard Meier Building itself, which creates flowing transitions from the inside to the outside and thus links up with nature, which is also expressed in the works of Hans Arp.
Hans Arp is said to have been a dandy. Charming, amusing and decidedly extroverted. He acquired special art-historical importance as the co-founder of the Dada movement, which developed during the first quarter of the twentieth century. Dada was the rejection of war, but also the artistic, playful and provocative rebellion against social and aesthetic norms. Arp rejected conventional teaching methods and sought new forms of artistic expression. Almost inevitably he discovered chance as a design principle.
The link to nature and nature's constant change – metamorphosis – became the determining idea in his art. It can be found in Arp's organic-abstract language of forms, so that he is considered its main representative. The Richard Meier Building captures this relationship to nature: the transparent architectural style opens the space within the museum to the surrounding countryside. This permits us to establish an architectural link across the decades, between Arp's work and the minimalist formal language of Richard Meier.
Friends say Sophie Taeuber-Arp was the calm anchor: introverted and organised down to the last detail. She was a painter, sculptress, dancer, interior architect and her diverse talents were just as varied as those of her husband. A native of Switzerland, she completed her training in Munich in 1914. The couple met in 1915 in Zurich, which at this time was full of exiled artists from all over Europe. In her work Sophie Taeuber-Arp adopted geometric abstraction as a form of expression.
With the clear arrangements of her compositions and the consistent used of basic forms such as the square or the circle, Sophie Taeuber-Arp became one of the key figures of Constructive Art. She countered the era of industrial mass production with the integration of art and crafts into daily life. Art should permeate all aspects of life and the traditional division between free and applied art should be removed. In line with this approach, the Arp Museum is not an ivory tower, but rather offers a living art experience with a wide range of events for visitors of all ages from the local region and beyond who want to discover art.