SOPHIE TAEUBER-ARP RESEARCH PROJECT (STARP)
WHAT IS IT ALL ABOUT?
After a year of planning and preparation, summer 2020 marks the launch of the Sophie Taeuber-Arp Research Project (STARP). The comprehensive website sophietaeuberarp.org on the life and complete works of the artist Sophie Taeuber-Arp is taking shape. The research project relies on the archive of the Stiftung Arp e. V. and drawing on expertise from the Gerhard-Marcks-Haus.
The centrepiece of the project is the digital catalogue of the artist’s complete works. This amounts to the first comprehensive, academically substantiated documentation of Taeuber-Arp’s important oeuvre.
WHO IS INVOLVED?
The Sophie Taeuber-Arp Research Project (STARP) is a joint project between the Stiftung Arp e. V. (Remagen/Berlin) and the Gerhard-Marcks-Haus (Bremen).
Since 1977 the Stiftung Arp e. V. has overseen a large part of the artistic estate of the Franco-German sculptor and poet Hans Arp (1886–1966) and of his first wife, the Swiss artist Sophie Taeuber-Arp (1889–1943).
The principal aim of the Stiftung Arp e. V. is to make the work of Arp and Taeuber-Arp accessible to a wide international audience. Supporting academic research, exhibitions and publications are vital tools in this effort. Academic discourse in the course of fellowships and conferences forms the centre of the foundation’s work.
In 2021 the Stiftung Arp e. V. contributed numerous works on loan to the major retrospective “Sophie Taeuber-Arp: Living Abstraction”. This exhibition was organised jointly by the Museum of Modern Art (New York), the Tate Modern (London) and the Kunstmuseum Basel. Also in 2021, a conference on Sophie Taeuber-Arp took place.
The Gerhard-Marcks-Haus in Bremen is a museum for modern and contemporary sculpture. It oversees the estate of Gerhard Marcks (1889–1981) and researches the history of modern sculpture. In the latter context, the “critical inventory” of Hans Arp’s sculptural oeuvre was compiled at the museum between 2010 and 2012.
Its self-conception as a researching museum gives rise to an intensive and active interest in questions relating to cataloguing. For this purpose it favours small, agile databases, tailored to the oeuvre of the given artist or a particular line of art-historical inquiry. Rooted in this expertise and the links with the Stiftung Arp, the STARP project came into being.
AIM OF THE RESEARCH PROJECT
The research project’s goal is to create a digital collection of Sophie Taeuber-Arp’s life and work, available on sophietaeuberarp.org. This platform aims to become a hub for research, sparking new perspectives by cataloguing all her known works.
Ideally the research platform sophietaeuberarp.org will develop into a central site for research and discourse, and open up new research questions and perspectives. All known works by Sophie Taeuber-Arp – the entire spectrum of her artistic production – will be brought together and permanently documented in the form of an annotated critical online catalogue.
THE PROJECT AS A WORK IN PROGRESS
The Sophie Taeuber-Arp Research Project is still in its beginnings. The website and the oeuvre catalogue are accessible online and will be continuously updated. The website is in German and English.
The compilation of a digital oeuvre catalogue is an elaborate process that can never be finished completely. The online catalogue should therefore be considered a work in progress.
When it comes to managing and updating the latest research data, the digital catalogue offers a flexible solution, being an extensible medium. New findings, amendments and corrections are integrated on a regular basis.
We are enormously grateful to the authors of the articles and to all the museums, foundations, collections and private owners who are supporting the project. Their supply of information and visual material is substantial to the achievement of this venture.