Claudia de la Torre’s work Arpologize me is a humorous examination of the sculptures, painting and collages of Hans Arp (1886-1966).
Being part of the Dada movement in Zürich, Arp’s practice often based on the principle of chance, which was considered as a creative concept against the means of traditional art. His compositions on paper are characterized by the combination of chance and strict geometrical structures. Those two aspects are also crucial for de la Torres’s Arpologize me: In the first place, it was by chance that she discovered the striking parallels between the avant-garde sculptures and images of contortionists. The photographs are part of her archive, consisting of random pictures found on the internet, in magazines, books and on flea markets. In her artistic practice, de la Torre is interested in re-contextualizing the found images; in artists-books and installations, she arranges them to a new, self-contained whole that is characterized by both: chance and strict structure. The latter especially concerns the images’ arrangement and the dramaturgy of their sequence. Furthermore, in a very clever, yet humorous way, her work often hints at examples of art history.
This is also the case with Arpologize me that plays on the interrelation of the abstract and the figurative: There are images of Arp’s sculptures, figures that are brought to such a high level of abstraction that the shape of the human body loses itself in the tender forms of the plastics. And there are the photographs, images of actual bodies whose contortions appear absurd and unfamiliar – somehow abstract. The slide show emphasizes the analogies between the deliberate abstraction on the one side and the “accidental” abstraction of contorted bodies on the other side.
The pictures of the contortionists are also the starting point of the second work on display that consists of 16 DIN A4 paper-mashups. De la Torre combines the outlines of the bodies so that they merge to new formations that, in terms of color and arrangement, allude to Arp’s paintings and collages. She brings the figures to an abstract level so that – just like Arp’s figures – it is not always possible to identify them as derived from the human body.
Text: Ferial Nadja Karrasch
Titelbild: Claudia de la Torre, Arpologize me (2014)
Foto: Cortesía Ángulo Cero