Lines at War

2017-20187 digital graphics on thick laid paper, mounted on wood, 50 x 170-180 x 2 cm each.

In what is, prima facie, a mesh of abstract lines, no few of the works that Sophie Taeuber-Arp completed between 1940 and 1942 in her exile in southern France show hexagons, hooks and whips. The compositions of lively, curved lines have, in part, something lost, floating, broken, irrational about them. At times they seem to be deliberately ‘chaotic’, which, in all Taeuber-Arp’s earlier works, would have been wholly uncharacteristic. In my view, these works manifest a symbolism of war, persecution and flight. In Taeuber-Arp’s cycle of works entitled ‘Lignes…’ (1940-42), an aspect of DADA re-emerges – the (meaning- and order-denying) art of refugees from war. The series LINES AT WAR, which combines some of Taeuber-Arp’s works from the ‘Lignes’ series with photographs from WW2, shows the connection and the discrepancy between Taeuber-Arp’s artistic activity and the world of war and persecution. LINES AT WAR thereby highlights a dilemma facing artists to this day, of making art in a time of injustice and violence. To the left (or at the top respectively) of each graphic, you see an original composition by Taeuber-Arp. In the middle, it “reacts” with a photograph. To the right (and at the bottom accordingly), the composition dissolves or is transformed. ‘Lines at War – Border’ shows two original compositions to the left and to the right.