Curator, Anne Umland: The artist Kurt Schwitters was famously refused entry in Berlin's club Dada, and in reaction launched his own countermovement, which he called ‘Merz,’ taken from a fragment of the German word ‘Kommerz,’ or commerce.
Arp, like Schwitters, was a poet. And the interplay between the verbal and the visual, a slippage between the two is perhaps nowhere better seen than in this series of seven Arpaden, published in 1923.
Each one of these seven boldly graphic images came with a very particular title. The first one's title is Mustache Hat. Then as you move through the series there are different forms: naval bottle, mustache watch, egg beater, Arabic eight.
All of the titles and shapes themselves are purposefully open-ended to provoke as many associations as possible.