Margaret Roberts, Night, 2021, ply, paint, wax, place, 120cm high and variable width.

Night reproduces Sophie Taeuber’s 19cm x 24cm coloured drawing, Grand Triangle, dated 1916, making it 5 times bigger, cutting out its 12 shapes in ply, and waxing each shape black on all sides, inadvertently suggesting the work of Louise Nevelson, enabling me to borrow the title, Night, thatLouise Nevelson often used. I began treating some of Taeuber’s works in this way a few years ago, thinking that it enables the works to recognise their spatial locations by letting in the live space of their locations more than when they use the convention of spatial self-containment. I thought of this treatment as another way of connecting imagery to place, a connection that was once common in European painting—for example, in altarpieces or murals in churches—but which diminished after the Reformation when paintings became more mobile and were more often made for private collections. I saw this treatment as opening the conventions of painting to the arena of installation. I later came to see that Sophie herself had built an engagement with place into some of her paintings in a different way—by composing them with elements of early Labanotation, the dance notation that she would have worked with in her first love, that of being an experimental dancer. In being composed with shapes that are also guides to movement, some of her paintings implicitly invoke the live physical space required for the movement of dancers. In doing so, they hint at a self-awareness of relationships to bodily space, suggesting my inclination to turn her paintings into moveable, body-sized shapes may have come partly from a recognition of content already ‘hidden’ in the paintings.




Sophie Taeuber Grand TriangleComposition verticale-horizontale, 1916, coloured pencil on paper, 19.3 x 23.6cm. Stiftung Hans Arp und Sophie Taeuber-Arp.


Night is part of Que des femmes / Only women, curated by Lisa Pang and Anya Pesce, as a Factory 49 satellite of Biennale Internationale d’art non-objectif in the city of Pont-de-Claix, France, curated by Roland Orepük and opening 18 September 2021, running till 13 November. Que des femmes / Only women shows the work of artists Alexandra Kennedy, Annelies Jahn, Anya Pesce, Barbara Halnan, Susan Andrews, Elke Wohlfahrt, Elisabeth Liz Bodey, Elizabeth Day, Elke Wohlfahrt, Jan Handel, Karen Benton, Kate Mackay, Louise Blyton, Lynne Eastaway, Mandy Burgess, Margaret Roberts, Melinda Clyne, Michelle Le Dain, Nicola McClelland, Nicole Ellis, Pam Aitkin, Pamela Leung, Pia Larsen, Ro Murray, Rox De Luca, Sandra Curry, Sara Lindsay, Sarah Fitzgerald, Sue Callanan, Susan Andrews, Susan Buret, and Wendy Kelly, and opened at Factory 49 after the 2021 COVID lockdown on November 24, 2021, open until December 4.

above: Night with nearby works in Que des femmes: front: Annelies Jahn Large Comfort Monochrome 2019–2021; L-R: Rox de Luca Tristeza Roja 2020, Nicole Ellis Double-Check 3 2020, Louise Blyton Black Swan 2019.

Catalogue. Artists' statements

Other engagements with Sophie Taeuber's works on this site are: 

Sophie's Circles,Sophie'sCostumeWait for Sophie96Dance,  Place and Practice,