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Constellation aux cinq formes blanches et deux noires (Variation I:Constellation with Five White and Two Black Forms)

On view

Constellation aux cinq formes blanches et deux noires (Variation I:Constellation with Five White and Two Black Forms)

Artist: Jean Hans Arp (French, born German, 1888 - 1966)

Date: 1932
Medium: Painted wood relief
Dimensions:
Overall: 23 3/16 x 29 9/16 x 1 1/2in. (58.9 x 75.1 x 3.8cm)
Signed: Verso: 'Arp'
Credit Line: Museum Purchase
Object number: 53.213
Label Text
Arp used the term "constellation" to describe clusters, groupings, and the interplay of forms in nature. He recalled: "I limited myself to arranging, on the water's edge, some pebbles with which I composed what could be called constellations .…" Like pebbles and stones, the contours of the forms in this relief seem to have been blunted and smoothed by the action of the elements.

Variation I is the second in a series of four versions based on the rearrangement of the same seven shapes. At the time, Arp was creating works in the round that were free from a fixed orientation. These were three-dimensional shapes that could be self-supporting when placed, at the whim of the viewer, in several different orientations. In the series of reliefs to which Variation I belongs, the sense of freedom from a fixed orientation is instead explored by creating a sequence of works in which the same shapes are affixed to their background in a different relation to each other. This approach may be an extension of Arp's interest in nature, as it enhances associations between his forms and objects in nature-leaves, branches, pebbles, stones, clouds, shells, seeds-that are likewise free from a fixed orientation.

Margherita Andreotti
2005
Copyright
Presumed copyright: the artist or the artist's representative/heir(s) / Licensing by ARS, New York, NY