Artwork of the month - March 98
Artwork of the Month ArchiveApril 1998

Jean Arp - Aquatique (Aquatic)  1953

French, 1886-1966
Aquatique (Aquatic)  1953
Collection Walker Art Center
Gift of the T.B. Walker Foundation, 1955

"The content of a sculpture should reveal itself on tiptoe, without pretension, like the track of an animal in the snow."
 --Jean Arp

Visual artist-poet Jean Arp worked in various media and disciplines throughout his career. As he searched for a spontaneous, elementary art form, Arp produced collages, reliefs, and sculptures of sensuous organic abstractions.

Beginning in the 1930s, Arp began a series of sculptures "in the round" that took on a biomorphic shape derived from nature. Often referred to as "concretions," these works signified an ongoing natural process of organic development. Extracting specific forms or lines from existing work, Arp would then create new works to further explore these shapes. This investigation could take months and even years. Arp felt this process infused the objects with the flow of his own life, and only after there was nothing left to change did Arp decide what the sculpture resembled and name it.

Aquatique (Aquatic) results from Arp's complex artistic process. The title and shape suggest marine animals or sea life, and encourage viewers to explore the sculpture's surfaces from multiple viewpoints. However, as Arp once said, "In one form or another, my sculptures are always torsos."

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