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Friday, 21 October 2011

Jean (Hans) Arp: Sekundenzeiger (Second hand)


Shirt Front and Fork
: Hans (Jean) Arp, 1922; photo by AgnosticPreachersKid, 31 May 2010 (National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.)


daß ich als ich
ein und zwei ist
daß ich als ich
drei und vier ist
daß ich als ich
wieviel zeigt sie
daß ich als ich
tickt und tackt sie
daß ich als ich
fünf und sechs ist
daß ich als ich
sieben acht ist
daß ich als ich
wenn sie steht sie
daß ich als ich
wenn sie geht sie
daß ich als ich
neun und zehn ist
daß ich als ich
elf und zwölf ist.


Animation zur Demonstration einer Minutensprunguhr: photo by Hk kng, 2009

Melted clock, Cass Technical High School

Melted clock, Cass Technical High School: photo by Yves Marchand and Romain Meffre, from The Ruins of Detroit, 2010

Second hand

that I, as I
one and two is
that I, as I
three and four is
that I, as I
it shows how much
that I, as I
ticking and she rattled
that I, as I
five and six is
that I, as I
seven eight is
that I, as I
if it is
that I, as I
when she goes
that I, as I
nine and ten is
that I, as I
eleven and twelve.

Six White Forms and One Gray Make a Constellation on a Blue Ground: Jean (Hans) Arp, 1953 (Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C.)

Sekundenzeiger (Second hand): Jean (Hans) Arp, from from G: Journal for Elemental Form-Creation, no. 3, 1924; English approximation by G.O. Ogle, 2011


ACravan said...

I could tell that this was going to be great from the second I saw Shirt Front and Fork. It's just SO great. Curtis

TC said...

Thanks, Curtis.

Arp, sheer genius, plus great sense of humour. The ultimate bonus.

Barry Taylor said...

Curtis, Tom -

He's a terrific poet too:

I am a horse

I travel in a train
that is overcrowded
in my compartment
each seat is taken by a woman
with a man sitting on her lap
the air is unbearably tropical
all the travellers have an enormous appetite
they eat without ceasing
suddenly the men
begin to whimper
and long for the maternal breast
they unbutton the women's blouses
and suck the fresh milk to their hearts' content
I alone do not suck
nor am I suckled
nobody sits on my lap
because I am a horse
immense and upright I sit
with my hind-legs up on the train seat
and comfortably lean
on my fore-legs
I whinny a raucous neigh neigh neigh
on my breast glitter
the sex buttons of sex appeal
in neat little rows
like the glittering buttons on uniforms
oh summertime
oh wide wide world

--Hans Arp

tr, Harriett Watts
in *Three Painter-Poets: Arp, Schwitters, Klee*
[Baltimore: Penguin Books, 1974]

TC said...


That's about my favourite Arp poem, too.

But so much of the brilliance of these pieces resides in the sound and sense plays in the original language, I thought to go to something that's a pure "form-creation," as he called it at the time.

There was moreover the special benefit of the having the generous services of that appropriately mechanical linguist Mr. G.O. Ogle.

ACravan said...

Thank you, Barry. What you sent added a lot to my Sunday morning. Curtis