Executed in 1961 and cast in bronze in an edition of 3.
Entité ailée is a beautiful example of Arp's mature œuvre, executed at the time when his work achieved a formal purity and a high level of abstraction. Its elegant, elongated form is subtly reminiscent of a human figure, while its simplicity and a smooth, polished surface transcend human form, pointing to a higher entity or being referred to in the title. This transcendental quality of his late sculpture bears strong stylistic, technical and poetic affinities with the work of Constantin Brancusi. As Stephanie Poley observed: 'Arp was concerned with purity, with being free, being independent of everything unpleasant and limiting, and with the active, constant emission of positive energy as well as its perception' (S. Poley in Arp (exhibition catalogue), Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Minneapolis, 1987, p. 229). The spiritual element of Arp's ideology is reflected here in the image of the winged, angel-like figure.
Guided by chance and intuition, the artist often created organic, irregular shapes evocative of natural forms and parts of human anatomy. Although he developed a highly abstract visual vocabulary, in his sculptures Arp always established a connection between these biomorphic forms and elements of the natural world in such a way as to unveil the mysterious and poetic elements hidden in everyday forms. Arp always enjoyed seeing his sculptures in natural settings, evidenced by his large carvings placed in the garden outside his studio, where they could merge into the landscape and become one with nature.
Apart from the three bronze casts of this work, Arp also executed versions in black granite and white marble (Galerie d'Art Moderne, Basel), as well as a larger version in marble and bronze (126cm.; fig. 1).
Fig. 1, A larger bronze version of Entité ailée at the Fondazione Marguerite Arp, Locarno
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