Next year Tate Modern seeks to readdress this imbalance with a long overdue retrospective of Taeuber-Arp’s multidisciplinary work, spanning textiles, painting, carved sculpture, set design, architecture, dance and performance. In doing so, it highlights Taeuber-Arp’s pivotal contribution to modern art and design, as well as her enduring influence on artists and designers around the world.
Born in 1889 in Switzerland, Taeuber-Arp studied fine and applied arts in Munich before moving to Zurich at the outbreak of the First World War. Shortly afterwards, she met Jean (Hans) Arp, one of the founding members of the anarchic Dada movement. ‘Dada aimed to destroy the rational deceptions of man and recover the natural and irrational order,’ Arp said.
While in Switzerland, Taeuber-Arp taught textile design at the Zurich School of Applied Arts and was commissioned to design stage sets and architectural interiors. Among her most important commissions was the redesign of the Aubette, a cultural centre in Strasbourg. She completed the project in collaboration with her husband and Dutch abstract artist Theo Van Doesburg, who is best known today as the founder and leader of De Stijl. The movement based on a strict geometry of horizontals and verticals counted such innovative artists as Piet Mondrian among its key proponents.
In the mid-1920s the couple moved to Meudon, near Paris, later settling in a house designed by Sophie. It soon became a meeting point for pioneering artists, writers and intellectuals of the day, including artists Sonia and Robert Delaunay, Alexander Calder and Marcel Duchamp.
At the outbreak of the Second World War, however, the Arps fled Paris for Grasse and later Zurich. Such political and personal upheaval marked a turning point in Taeuber-Arp’s work: she began to focus on the medium of drawing and the possibilities of lines and circles.
In 1943 Taeuber-Arp tragically died of accidental carbon monoxide poisoning. In the decades that followed her art slipped into obscurity. At last she emerges from the shadows with the first retrospective of her work in the UK, featuring principal works from major collections in Europe and the US, many of which have never been seen in this country. What a delight that she will finally receive the long-overdue recognition she deserves.
|What||Sophie Taeuber-Arp, Tate Modern|
|Where||Tate Modern, Bankside, London, SE1 9TG | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Waterloo (underground)|
15 Jul 21 – 17 Oct 21, Sunday - Thursday 10AM - 6PM; Friday and Saturday 10AM - 10PM
|Website||Click here for more information|