Sophie Taeuber-Arp 'Sophie with Dada head', 1920-21, Reproduction 200gsm A3 Vintage Dada Poster
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Sophie Taeuber-Arp, Swiss born in 1889, has been called by The Guardian a "radical artist who brought joy to the dada" and was the only woman on the eighth series of Swiss banknotes; her portrait was on the 50-franc note from 1995 to 2016. Though dada has been described as an early form of subversive pop culture likened by some to the punk subculture, critics have said that Taeuber's artworks were not angry but "joyous abstractions", created as part of a movement that has been called revolutionary for its influence challenging the established conventions of art by "playing with blocks and blobs of colour, moving them around randomly, letting patterns emerge by chance, in a kind of visual jazz". In 1915, at an exhibition at the Tanner Gallery, she met the Dada artist Jean "Hans" Arp, who had moved to Zurich in 1915 to avoid being drafted by the German Army during the First World War.They were to collaborate on numerous joint projects until her death in 1943. They married in 1922 and she changed her last name to Taeuber-Arp. Taeuber-Arp taught weaving and other textile arts at the Kunstgewerbeschule Zürich (now Zurich University of the Arts) from 1916 to 1929. Her textile and graphic works from around 1916 through the 1920s are among the earliest Constructivist works, along with those of Piet Mondrian and Kasimir Malevich. These sophisticated geometric abstractions reflect a subtle understanding of the interplay between colour and form. During this period, she was involved in the Zürich Dada movement, which centred on the Cabaret Voltaire. She took part in Dada-inspired performances as a dancer, choreographer, and puppeteer, and she designed puppets, costumes and sets for performances at the Cabaret Voltaire as well as for other Swiss and French theatres. At the opening of the Galerie Dada in 1917, she danced to poetry by Hugo Ball while wearing a shamanic mask by Marcel Janco. A year later, she was a co-signer of the Zurich Dada Manifesto. As both a dancer and painter, Taeuber was able to incorporate Dada in her movement for dancing and was described as obscure and awkward.
She also made a number of sculptural works, such as a set of abstract "Dada Heads" of turned polychromed wood. With their witty resemblance to the ubiquitous small stands used by hatmakers, they typified her elegant synthesis of the fine and applied arts. Taeuber-Arp was also close friends and contemporaries with the French-Romanian avant-garde poet, essayist, and artist, Tristan Tzara, one of the central figures of the Dada movement. In 1920, Tzara solicited over four dozen Dadaist artists, among which were Taeuber-Arp, Jean Arp, Jean Cocteau, Marcel Duchamp, and Hannah Hoch. Tzara planned to use the contributed text and images to create an anthology of Dada work entitled Dadaglobe. A worldwide release of 10,000 copies was planned, but the project was abandoned when its main backer, Francis Picabia, distanced himself from Tzara in 1921. In early 1943, Taeuber-Arp died of accidental carbon monoxide poisoning caused by an incorrectly operated stove at the house of Max Bill. Wassily Kandinsky said: "Sophie Taeuber-Arp expressed herself by means of the 'colored relief,' especially in the last years of her life, using almost exclusively the simplest forms, geometric forms. The forms, by their sobriety, their silence, their way of being sufficient unto themselves, invite the hand, if it is skillful, to use the language that is suitable to it and which is often only a whisper; but often too the whisper is more expressive, more convincing, more persuasive, than the 'loud voice' that here and there lets itself burst out." In 2014, at the Danser sa vie dance and art exhibition at the Centre Georges Pompidou in France, a photograph was displayed of Taeuber-Arp dancing in a highly stylized mask and costume at the Cabaret Voltaire in 1917. A museum honouring Taeuber-Arp and Jean Arp opened in 2007 in a section of the Rolandseck railway station in Germany, re-designed by Richard Meier. The video work "Sophie Taeuber-Arp's Vanishing Lines" by new media artist Myriam Thyes from Switzerland is about her "Lignes" drawings, segmented circles intersected by lines.
Please note before ordering all our posters are reproduction posters
Standard A3 Size
16.53" x 11.69"
42cm x 29.7cm
420mm x 297mm
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