Jean Arp meets the human being, the animal, the plant, the old table … Venue of this meeting of which I was a witness is the Baths of Diocletian, through architectural mediation of Francesco Venezia and curated by Alberto Fiz .


Under the sky of Rome the only works that touch the soil of the largest Spa of ancient Rome are two: “Berger des nuages” and “Paysage bucolique”. But there are no clouds to be governed in a landscape that evokes myth and history. On the green of the trees, The body in bronze dances free; against the blue sky, the marble lights up.


Jean Arp, I look into your eyes.


“Torse à la tête de fleur” smells of painted wood beyond the glass. Arp wanted to draw what moves, rises up, ripens, falls. He creates and in the meanwhile the physical entity together with the work-dream transforms itself. I admire in the making “Trois femmes” portrayed not posing, perhaps got bare like the sculptural surface of the elegant artist’s monuments.


The law of the case, which encompasses all laws and remains incomprehensible to us as the first cause from which life originates, can only be known in a complete abandonment to the unconscious. I say that those who follow this law will create the life itself. ”


Arp is creator. He creates sculptures in which I hear the heart beating and the blood pulsing in the veins: a constant panta rei in which his vision is a freeze-frame.
Jean Arp knew how to capture the most innovative elements of Dada, the Russian Constructivism and even Surrealism, remaining independent, guaranteeing a constant state of freedom from labels, movements and currents. Free to mistreat the “Venus de Milo”, to amputate the “Daphne” of Ovid and Bernini, to sculpt using the empty space, to be enchanted by the details of craters and vases and not by the Ancient virtuosity: Jean Arp follows the rhythm of moving geometries.


I look at a red circle on a lawn, half black and half white, with a single tree that tends to touch the sky; or maybe I see instead an arrow stretching despite the limited space: time of necessary pareidolia. “And you, what do you see?”.


Lunar surface is the “Concrètion humaine” in pure plaster, looking almost stellar due to the artificial light that makes it so shiny. It seems a sculpture smoothed by the air, by the time, by the wisdom of beauty, by the ecstasy of aesthetics. They are perfect shapes in their deformity, specimens of that becoming, so dear to Jean Arp.


I am called by his poems, as if they were mermaids singing. The encounter with “Sirène” on fact happened: half fish, half woman, all bronze. 
If “S’accroupissant” huddles, “Torse des Pyénées” dances as Sophie Taeuber-Arp danced. With her, who “dreamed countless tales of circles,” he envisioned “to transform the world, to simplify it, to make it more beautiful.”


Child amazement in front of his living structures: Arp is a child and causes rêverie. His fingers mold the clay of the sky and to his elementary forms he instills a dancing movement. Sculptures made of bronze and case, arcane pulse of nature, exploration tool, conductor of new realities: I meet Arp’s Archetype that embodies classicism, modernity and the future together and at the same time goes beyond them. Between Dada and Surrealism, Arp maintains steady his swing and his stimuli, thanks to the rêverie.


Arp rejects the pars destruens of the Dadaism; Marcel Duchamp recognizes the diversity of Arp and the need for a “new order”: “For Arp, art is Arp”, almost a tautology. There was never a real break with Surrealism, but Arp prefers now to become the creator of original forms. The artist imposes his quiet revolution.
 A white wave wraps me up, “Pepin Géant”, and rejects me, “Concrétion humaine”: a slow but steady movement. And this is how I meet “Thalès de Milet”. And this is how Arp follows Anassimandro’s moon “like a wagon wheel”.


I whisper human words to the ”Evocator d’une forms humaine”. “Téte” against head, I listen to the “Sculpture mythique”.
”Bourgeon d’èclair” becomes to me his more successful poem.


Here comes the woman. Here comes “Femme paysage” a shocking erotic power, I tend to her to snatch her purity. Here comes Sophie Taeuber. Here comes the artist. Here comes the wife.
She is one of the “transparent women” of art history, shadow of her husband that today is shown in the right light of headlights on display and the eye of the curious visitor.


I should have mentioned more Dada and Surrealism; reaffirm strongly that there is no opposition art-nature in Arp’s opinion; and shout his deep belief: “Life is the purpose of art”; deepen myths, mythologies, and the thought of Greek philosophers who influenced so much the archaic forms; comment on his works that create wonder.


But how is it possible to give voice to the vocal cords that have suffered from aphasia?


ln8b4771bSpecial thanks: Marta Martino, Fulvia Mendini, Umberto Montini

Photo: Irina Mattioli 

Jean Arp”
Museo Nazionale Romano alle Terme di Diocleziano, Grandi Aule
Until January 15, 2017
Promoted by the Special Authorities for the Coliseum and central archeological area of Rome and the Museo Nazionale Romano with Electa
Curated by Alberto Fiz in collaboration with Clamart, Francia.
The set-up of the exhibition is carried out by architect Francesco Venezia.