Arp conceived this work in marble in 1961, one year before the important retrospective of his work in Paris and New York. In a 1965 photograph, the artist poses in his garden with his arm around the sculpture beneath the shade of a tree. Here, as in the sculpture itself, there is an unmistakable suggestion of metamorphosis: "Arp's assimilation of the process of creation in nature with that of art finds a tangible dimension in his sculptures... Stemming from simple, primordial forms—most frequently that of an embryo, a simple head, a navel, a bud, or even an amoeba—Arp's sculptures deploy their powers of spatial expression precisely through these organic and rounded masses which swell and bulge with a life of their own and whose expansive movements suggest the existence of an imaginary energy centre at the heart of the works themselves. Indeed, there is a sense of permanent flux, as though currents and forces loom up to the surface only to be solidified there" (Jean Arp, L'Invention de la forme (exhibition catalogue), op. cit., p. 52).
The present work is equally concerned with the historical and mythological aspects of metamorphosis. His quest for the ideal form lead Arp to an appreciation of the earliest civilizations in antiquity; of their art and myths which were very much the vehicle for the idea of metamorphosis. At a time when he was to title his works Amphore des étoiles, Souvenir du pays d'Héraclès, Femme amphore, Daphné, Les trois grâces, Figure mythique, Ptolémée and Torse de Chorée... Arp bestowed Entité ailée with the globular forms of Cyclades, as well as the power and the fervor of a Victoire de Samothrace. He observed that, "From Impressionism onwards, art has turned irrevocably towards the disintegration of the human figure. A reaction was inevitable. For me, it is not about a return to a forgotten realism, though I have a strong need to create, and to create more than just the 'human concretions' of days gone by, but rather a mythical sculpture which takes the form of a head or a torso. Is mythical the right word? Indeed, we are talking about divinity, but it is more of a human divinity, as the sages and poets have always upheld. Hesiod, for example, who positions man at the centre of the universe. This is my sculpture today" (ibid., p. 24).
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