Sophie Taeuber-Arp (1889-1943) was an artist but also a dancer, designer, puppet maker, architect and editor. A true pioneer of modern art, for Taeuber-Arp, abstraction was never just an idea; it was her way of life. This ‘lived abstraction’ plays a large part in the exhibition as the artworks on show, many together for the first time, explore how Taueber-Arp’s subversive, dissident and often revolutionary style radiated into every facet of her life and paved the way for modern artists to come.
Taeuber-Arp became a teacher after studying art and dance and later taught others how to design patterns for textiles. In the terrible wake of the first world war, European civilisation was on the brink of collapse and a group of young people were rebelling from the world of destruction around them. They themselves defined themselves as nonsensical, cynical, savage and abstract – the dadaists. Responsible for co-founding the dada art movement, Tauber-Arp’s way with colours and shapes unlocked new possibilities in art, costume and interior design.
Liberated and yet ordered, radical, yet structured, Taueber-Arp’s work invites us to dance within a grid, to break boundaries by following her rules. Tied so closely with dance, poetry and performance, Taueber-Arp created the perfect escapism from the troubled and violent society around her, making this publication a pertinentexploration of what it means to create ones own personal order in an increasingly unstable world.