Jean (Hans) Arp. Tailpiece (back cover) from Phantastische Gebete (Fantastic Prayers). 1916

Jean (Hans) Arp Tailpiece (back cover) from Phantastische Gebete (Fantastic Prayers) 1916

  • Not on view

Phantastische Gebete (Fantastic prayers) is a collection of sound poems by Richard Huelsenbeck. Performing these abstract compositions of phonemes at the Cabaret Voltaire, the center of Dada activity in Zurich, Huelsenbeck spoke in solemn, rhythmic declamations, a device intended to connect with ancient rituals—incantations, chants, liturgies—that the city's Dadaists endowed with a potential for renewal. To accompany these poems in a book, Arp, another habitué of the Cabaret, made woodcuts of hieratic symmetrical forms. By cutting the wooden blocks he would print from along their grain rather than against it, he highlighted the wood’s organic internal patterns in his printed forms.

Gallery label from Inventing Abstraction, 1910–1925, December 23, 2012–April 15, 2013.
Richard Huelsenbeck
One from an illustrated book with seven woodcuts
composition (irreg.): 1 15/16 x 1 13/16" (5 x 4.6 cm); page: 9 1/16 x 5 11/16" (23 x 14.4 cm)
Collection DADA, Zurich
Julius Heuberger, Zurich
Gift of Frank Perls (by exchange)
Object number
© 2020 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn
Illustrated book
Phantastische Gebete (Fantastic Prayers)
Drawings and Prints

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