‘Sophie Taeuber-Arp: Living Abstraction’ Review: Celebrating Abstract Art as It Was Meant to Be

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As soon as I stepped into the chronological retrospective “Sophie Taeuber-Alps: Living Abstracts” at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, I was once again as happy as a child. I was fascinated by the expressive movements, pure geometric form and vibrant colors. Taeuber-Arp (1889-1943), one of the most original, multifaceted and unsung artists of the first half of the 20th century, convinced me that she was the intended method of abstract art. .. Driven by the senses; seemingly childish and folk, yet rigorously structured, elegant and complex. Disarmament due to its understated sophistication, as well as the sense of joy of Carnivalesque.

“Vertical-horizontal configuration” (1916)


Alex Dell Fanne

Sophie Taeuber was born in Davos, Switzerland in 1889 and learned textile crafts from his mother. She studied art and textile design in St. Gallen, followed by woodworking, textile and interior design, and experimental art education in Germany. In 1914 she moved to Zurich, where she danced and choreographed, established herself as an artist and met her future husband, the sculptor Hans Arp (1886-1966).

Sophie Taeuber-Arp: A living abstraction

Museum of Modern Art until March 12, 2022

Throughout her life, the Tober Alp has made a prominent appearance in the European avant-garde. Arps participated in the Dada movement and she taught at the Department of Applied Arts at a vocational school in Zurich. In the late 1920s, Taeuber-Arp created a number of architectural and interior design projects, including the home of Arps in France, in particular Theo van Doesburg, co-founder of Hans Arp and de Stijl, and the Aubette Entertainment Complex in Strasbourg, France. Has been completed. Taeuber-Arp died of accidental carbon monoxide poisoning in 1943.

The travel survey was conducted by Anne Umland at MoMA with Laura Braverman. By Eva Reifert at the Fine Arts Museum Basel in Switzerland. In London by Tate Modern Natalia Sidrina. By independent curator Walberga Krupp. This is the first major Taeuber-Arp retrospective exhibition in the United States in 40 years, and consists of about 300 works including paintings, drawings, textiles, and sculptures. Glass beaded jewelry, purses, abstract composition. Furniture, interior, graphics, theater design. Wooden box, head, marionette.

MoMA’s opening gallery is fun, unpretentious and totally fascinating. Here are some small abstract gouaches from 1920. A pointistic grid of small tessellated rectangles — a polyphonic rhythm that runs through the walls as a shimmering Staccato attack. You can see beaded bracelets, necklaces and handbags. The hilarious shape animates the curved surface, meandering on and around the glittering pole-like shape of a hairdresser. And an asymmetrical hard-edged grid configuration made of colored pencils and gouache and metallic paint, or gleaming beads and threads, or embroidered, supple wool.

“Abstract with abstract motifs (notebook cover)” (c. 1917-18) is decorated with glass and metal beads on canvas and shines like a landscape adorned with fantastic jewels. The “vertical-horizontal composition” (c. 1917), which consists of various colorful rectangles of wool on canvas, economically introduces diagonals and reimagines and buckles patchwork planes. These colored abstract paintings are fixed by the painted wooden “Dada Cup” (1916), “Amphora” (1917), and “Powder Box” (c. 1918). A sophisticated object reminiscent of totems and chess pieces.

One gallery is a wonderful abstract Dada head (a wooden oval that is colorfully painted, decorated with flowers, smooth and laminating) and a magical mixed media marionette (exotic human,). Created in 1918 for the string puppet show “King Stag”, dedicated to Taeuber-Arp on the stage set (animals and trees suggesting angels, robots). In abstract tapestries, rugs and tablecloths, Taeuber-Arp blends the abstractions of folk art, neoclassical art and modernism. Her subtle colors flash and breathe as if the cloth flushed her skin, as if she had woven emotions. In “Crosson Red Ground (Tablecloth)” and “Tapestry” (both 1924), the white fringe borders suggest stage curtains and architectural pillars adjacent to the abstract drama. Also, with stained glass windows designed for orbets and private apartments, Taeuber-Arp has a rectangular blend of hues (pink, orange, gray, green, brown), plus pure primary colors and black and white. The rectangle of is adopted. While these are modern abstract natural distillations, they are reminiscent of the dark details of medieval stained glass stains and blended tones.

“Off-Center Abstract Composition” (1928)


Strasbourg Museum

The last three galleries are adorned with abstract paintings, drawings and painted wooden reliefs of the Tober Alps of the 1930s and 40s. Constructivist and De Stijl paintings and bas-relief sculptures include a delicate balance between some perfectly tuned hard-edged geometric elements. In the oils “Broken Cross”, “Six Spaces With Four Small Crosss” (both 1932), and “Six Separate Spaces” (1939), Taeuber-Arp juggles free lines and warp flat shapes to make the plane taut and elastic. Keep it to be. Tightrope walking accuracy. In painted wooden reliefs, circular holes and protruding circles and cones pulsate in dynamic equilibrium.

In the abstractly carved wooden “head” (1937), Taeuber-Arp is reminiscent of teardrops, a knight’s helmet, a yawning beak, a fascinating human mouth, and a chest. Perhaps the most beautiful here are the non-objective paintings of biological forms and the waves and swooping birds where the shaved shapes interact (shift, dance, ascend, descend, circle, fuse with each other). Rectangle and tondo of wood carving relief that interacts naturally like. And solar system.

Everything in “Living Abstraction” is beautiful and alive. The show reconstructs the Tober Alp at the pinnacle of abstraction in the early 20th century. That is because it makes us keenly aware of life and works that have been cut down in a short period of time. Please take a look at this wonderful exhibition. But dig under a playful surface. Taeuber-Arp’s art appeals first and foremost to our senses: love for light, color, movement and rhythm. Still, the real reward is the joy of discovery, the joy of unearthing the treasure that is the fascinating brilliance of her art.

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