The composition at Jean Arp
According to the laws of chance...

Study of François Murez -

Extracts of: Jean Arp or the law of chance
(Philipe Dagen, Article - Le Monde - November, 2008)

    ... He is held at the first moment, in the shape such as it appears, in the erotic intuition of the hand, in the immediate find of the eye, at the chance. He wants to master the least possible not to lose what there is of explorations in the creation ...

Squares arranged according to the laws of chance (1916 - 1917)

    Is it necessary to be held at the chance in its most fortuitous shape? Is it necessary, as it is often written, to believe that Jean Arp stuck or paints the shapes as they appeared after an unexpected fall? Or is it necessary to believe that it is a little more complex, that the artist has all the same a certain control of his creation?


... Or the use of the golden section

    The chance is my raw material
Jean Arp


Two vertical axes and two horizontal axes placed according to the golden section of the side of the rectangle bound the position of the shapes and create a symmetry. The elements of the height answer those of the bottom as those of left to those of right.

Other vertical cuts, always according to the golden section, complete the positioning of the shapes.

The same principle is once again applied...

Then, what was made on vertical lines can be reproduced on the horizontal.
So every shape meets positioned even sized by this covering. Let us pledge that we could pursue it more finely to complete this composition, but it would be boring.

The same principle applies somewhere else?

Floated wood - Collage

The same principle of covering by the golden section. Elements take place around these lines.


Let us apply the golden sections to the vertical and horizontal according to the same principle as previously.

Then the secondary sections on 2 axes.

Reliefs position thanks to these axes, more freely certainly than in the case of the previous rectangles but in connection with the same principle of distribution on the surface and of symmetry.

    We reject all which was copy or description to leave the Elementary and the Spontaneous to react in full freedom.
Jean Arp

Entombment of the Birds and Butterflies (Head of Tzara) (1916 - 1917)

On this shape free of frame, let us draw a rectangle with the big side and the small side in the golden report. This rectangle frames the internal shapes.

Then let us apply the same axes as previously to the golden sections. The right shape is so positioned.

Let us draw then a square having for side the big side of the rectangle and positioned at an equal distance of the left-hand side of the rectangle that the distance between this side of the rectangle and the main axis of the golden section (distances located by the green segment). This square frames the right shape.

A set of diagonals leaning on the outside square and the intersections of the horizontal and vertical axes frame the outside shape of the work.

This work free of frame bases in fact on a double structure of frames, one to structure the inside of the work, one to draw the outside.

    He ( Arp) recovered from it at random by arranging on a cardboard of papers cut without intention and beforehand put in colors, the colored face turned to the support. He blurred then papers, scattering them on the surface bounded by some cardboard. He did not have any more then than to return them and to stick them by respecting the retail distribution of the shapes and the colors, the work of chance.
Georges Hugnet - The Dada adventure.

Squares arranged according to the laws of chance (1916 - 1917)

Collage of papers on yellowed cardboard

The usual golden sections structure the work and bring out a symmetry.

Horizontal secondary axes which bound in height certain elements.

For example, a vertical secondary axis which props up a diagonal bounding elements of the picture on the right.

The distance between two horizontal axes (located by a light blue, upper left segment) meets in several heights of elements of the picture.

If we resume this distance and what we calculate a bigger distance according to the golden report, we find, in example, the length of several vertical elements (located by two big light blue segments).

Now, if we take the distance between both superior axes (located by the green segment), we find it as size of several elements.
They are examples, by looking, we would find certainly the others in the same logic there.

All these elements in coherence which we find spread in the work are so many examples of repetitive coincidences.

    The regular recurrence of facts or identical events or fellow men, recurrence or assembly in the time or in the space such as the individual members of the sequence - as much as the serious analysis allows to judge it - are not connected by the same active cause.
Paul Kammerer - The law of the series

Then, because everything is placed, divided, according to a structured approach and calculated reports of sizes, what are these laws of chance? Certainly not the pure and simple chance, quite this demonstration proves it.

    A resulting phenomenon the partnership of several really independent causes will thus be a fortuitous fact, if no principle intervenes which unites between them the independent causes.
Octave Hamelin - Essay on the main elements of the representation - 1907

And here, the unifying principle is indeed the composition...
Poursuivons en reprenant un commentaire sur le poème de Tzara "Pour faire un poème dadaïste" Let us continue in resuming a comment on the poem of Tzara " To make a Dadaist poem "

    Tzara indeed applied almost never, observes Béhar, the process which it had invented. That is that his text, while prescribing the standards of composition of new texts, does not conform itself to these standards...
    A clear distinction so takes place enter a writing of operational order ( the poetic text) and a writing of order méta operational ( the manifesto). If, in the first one, the chance represents the fundamental ingredient, in the second its abolition establishes an indispensable condition to illustrate its use.
Dada circuit total - Henri Béhar, Catherine Dufour

The same comment can be applied to the work of Arp. The realized work does not follow the laws of chance to located the wave of one's hand of the artist dictated by chance.

And to finish, that there are Sophie Taeuber's pictures?

Sophie Taeuber

Let us apply the golden sections to the vertical and horizontal according to the same principle as previously

Here also, the golden section organizes and gives its breath to this work.
So, both artists also shared their principle of construction of a picture.

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