Over a period of more than sixty years, Hans (Jean) Arp, one of the most celebrated artists of the 20th Century, produced an extraordinary body of work that shifts fluidly between abstraction and representation, and between organic and geometric forms.
For the inaugural presentation at Hauser & Wirth Bahnhofstrasse 1, Arp: Art Is a Fruit will display major sculptures and works on paper by the artist, spanning a period from 1924–1965. The display explores Arp’s long-term fascination with creating artistic forms that reflect the physiological processes of procreation, germination, emergence, and growth – profoundly echoing the artist’s sentiment that is at the core of the exhibition, Art Is a Fruit.
The inaugural presentation has been developed in collaboration with Stiftung Arp e.V., Berlin/Rolandswerth and follows a number of exhibitions with the gallery, including Ovi Bimba at Hauser & Wirth Zürich in 2012 and Chance – Form – Language (and a Franzwestigation) at Hauser & Wirth London in 2014.
Also on view in the presentation are examples of Arp’s Threshold sculptures. In contrast to the works created in the round, these sculptures made from 1958 onwards employ two fixed viewing points, harking back to the wood reliefs Arp made earlier in his career. Describing a threshold as the passage between life and death, the sculptures continue Arp’s preoccupation with the natural life cycle. This tension between geometric forms and organic themes is clear in the work Schwelle mit Pflanzenzinnen (Threshold with Plant Crenellations) (1959) – its structure visually reminiscent of the cell of a plant, with a wall, membrane, and nucleus.
“Art is a fruit that grows in man like a fruit on a plant, or a child in its mother’s womb.” –Arp