Revolution ⸰ Instinct ⸰ Transgression ⸰ Joy
Revere, Revolt asks us to embrace all beauty and truth we find. But also to harness the courage and joy of revolt - to not let tradition bind you. Here Taueber-Arp, as is typical, reconciles opposites; the geometrical with breathtaking sweeps of extravagant line, colour and form.
“Everything to do with Sophie Taeuber-Arp has the luminosity of sunlight, and is the miracle which has replaced tradition. She is full of invention, whim and extravagance,” said the German artist, Hugo Ball.
In her early years, Taeuber-Arp was a key figure in the creation of the Dada movement. Through all her subsequent influential roles across multiple 20th century art movements she demonstrated Dadaism's core aims; her creations were both spontaneous and subversive. But also joyful as opposed to angry. The sense of movement she conjures feels liberating in its rhythmic patterns, its playful colour blocks. Neither cynical nor cold; Taeuber-Arp’s abstract art is life-affirming and full of humanity.
All of this applies to our image for Revere, Revolt. Mondrian's words on his creation of one the world’s most famous abstracts, which came in the wake of Taeuber-Arp’s work may help illuminate her achievements. He clearly defines a radical but classical approach to his painting 'Composition No. 10' (1939–1942) "constructed with awareness, but not with calculation, led by high intuition, and brought to harmony and rhythm."
We can see here that with a spare palette and vocabulary of forms, Taeuber Arp creates a feeling of freedom and energy. She resolves and reconciles contradictory extremes as she does across all her work; the intuitive and geometric, disorder and harmony, art and craft, figurative and abstract...
Taeuber-Arp embodies the reverence of beauty and truth as we find it and as we make it - through exploration, transgression and revolt. In doing this with such prolific verve, Taeuber-Arp achieves her stated ambition to make “living things” in “a new style that is fitting for us.”
Edwin Hubbell Chapin (December 29, 1814 – 1880) was an American preacher. He was also a poet, responsible for the poem Burial at Sea, which was the origin of a famous folk song, Bury Me Not on the Lone Prairie.
What was most remarkable about the man were his powers of oration - you can expand a grey accordion, below, to read people’s reactions to his genius in full. It makes you wish you could have been there.
Chapin like Taeuber-Arp was filled with reverence whilst also sweeping away boundaries. He was ‘the reverse of dogmatic in his spirit’ as quoted from his biography by Sumner Ellis;
“His converting power was immense, only that he converted men to a love of the good and beautiful, rather than to any creed or special form of faith. He converted men from partial, embittering creeds, and from all sectarianism, to a nobler appreciation of the great Christian truths - the paternity of God and the brotherhood of man.”
He revolted like Taeber-Arp. He was brought up in an orthodox tradition but, although he avoided labelling himself as such, he was a key figure in the promotion of Universalist ideals - that all may enter heaven, that all can achieve grace and happiness.