Arp, Jean

Here’s one way to avoid the draft: Artist Jean Arp “later told the story of how, when he was notified to report to the German consulate, he avoided being drafted into the German Army: he took the paperwork he had been given and, in the first blank, wrote the date. He then wrote the date in every other space as well, then drew a line beneath them and carefully added them up. He then took off all his clothes and went to hand in his paperwork.” (Wikipedia)

Hans Arp was born in Alsace-Lorraine.  According to Wikipedia, “Following the return of Alsace to France at the end of World War I, French law determined that his name become Jean.”  (How strange that one’s name would be determined by law.)

Britannica points out that Arp is known, among other things, for papiers déchirés (“torn papers”) and papiers froissés (“crumpled papers”).  At first, these forms of art didn’t sound interesting to me.  My quick first search found images of a heart being revealed under the tears, and it seemed hackeyed, like something only scrapbookers would use.  Then I saw the image below and realized how many interesting things could be done with tears, especially if you portrayed things (like feathers) that really lend themselves to this technique:

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The crumpled papers technique also sounded dull because I was picturing the random creases of something crumpled by hand.  Then I realized that you could place objects underneath the paper to create something much more interesting:



As I make my way through various aspects of art history, I think it would be fun to learn art in historical order.  I’d start with ancient forms of art, like Egyptian, then work my way forward.


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