Abstract with Arp

How do I make an abstract artwork?

One could choose to employ coincidence like Jean Arp ( 1886 – 1966). Jean (Hans) Arp was part of the Dada movement, that wanted to let go of all rationalism. He said “I had accepted the transience, the dribbling away, the brevity, the impermanence, the fading, the withering, the spookishness of our existence.”

He accepted chance by dropping snippets of paper unto an empty surface (cardboard, wood or paper), and gluing them in place wherever they fell. I you look at his work you can’t believe chance is that neat or kind; Arp must have moved the pieces around just a bit before declaring the work finished.

If you want to create such an artwork yourself you need to decide first what kind of elements to use. The result will look better if you choose objects or snippets that have something in common, like color, shape, or size (throwing ten random objects that you found in the living room unto the floor is just a mess, and will be recognized by only a few as art).

But while cooking dinner I suddenly saw the spookishness of our existence manifest itself in the frying pan. The art of cooking.

“Arp: Painter, Poet, Sculptor” by Eric Robertson, page 87.