I seem to be caught in somewhat of a nostalgic phase at the moment, focusing on creatives from the past that I admire, opposed to those that are still working away at their craft/design. I guess it’s easier to appreciate somebody’s creativity and flare when their life’s work is over and you can sit back and admire what they left behind to inspire others as a whole body of work. Today I’d like to turn your attention if I can to French sculptor, painter and poet Jean Arp who was instrumental in founding the Dada movement in Zurich in 1916, which is referenced by many as the movement that layed the foundations for Surrealism.
Started after the horrors of the First World War, Dada was formed to express a positive an intuitive form of art that rejected conventional ways of thinking. Jean Arp, or Hans Arp as he is also referred to, promoted these ideals of spontaneity and freeform creation, designing works that he explained no longer represented nature but became nature themselves. Personally I love this imaginative way of thinking and although you can try to humanise elements of his works they ring true to this idea that they are born of another world, which to everyone other than the artist didn’t exist at the time.
Although Jean was quite the painter it’s his handcrafted sculptures out of bronze, plaster and stone that he’s remembered most fondly for by many so I decided to feature these heavily here. I did however include two wood cuts of his and a painted piece just to provide a little context to the multi-faceted nature of his career, I don’t think we see as many modern day creatives following such a diverse path as Mr Arp did. He was also quite the accomplished writer and poet so he’s a real inspiration in my eyes.
Hopefully for those of you that haven’t come across Jean before will see this as an invitation to go out and learn more about the man, and perhaps apply some of his ways of thinking to your own creative projects. Both of us here are consciously trying to keep ourselves busy trying new means of creating, Mr Arp has certainly filled my imagination with fresh ideas and enthusiasm, I trust this imagery will do the same for you. Enjoy!