June 2019
All Dates

John M Armleder CA.CA.

07 June 2019 00:00 - 01 September 2019 00:00


The Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt is presenting new installations by the Swiss concept, performance and object artist John M Armleder. His art combines coincidence and planning, high culture and everyday life, profundity and triviality to create an ambivalent and unique experience. Based on the formal repertoire of Modernism—Constructivism, Op-Art, Pop, gestural and abstract painting as well as design—he finds poetic and ironic commentaries on our current reality and the status of art. Armleder actively explores the respective exhibition space; many of his works are created directly in situ. He often uses set pieces from earlier works and combines a wide range of media and materials.

Dr. Philipp Demandt, Director of the Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt, comments: “We could describe John M Armleder as the epitome of the postmodern artist. He humorously combines references to art history with design and everyday objects. In his recycling of forms he sees the opportunity for the constant renewal and requestioning of what art is, can or should be. With this approach he has been—and still is—playing a pioneering role for many young artists.”

For the exhibition CA.CA. John M Armleder created an installation in the freely accessible Rotunda of the Schirn. 20 disco balls mounted at different heights are multiplied in its windows covered with mirror film. Inside the Schirn, he assembled further works and installations, including new "Pour Paintings," wall paintings of stylized skulls and sculptures such as an inverted double children’s slide that forms part of his "Furniture Sculptures." 

From the very beginning of John M Armleder’s career, a playful and forthright approach, the inclusion of chance and of subversive and unplanned elements manifested themselves as the main characteristics of his interpretation of art. He presented his first exhibition in 1973 with the Fluxus group ECART (French for “Deviation”), which had been founded four years previously and for which he had written a manifesto. Central concerns included the denial of the concrete, the determinable, and a predilection for the process-based approach. This fundamental attitude of the artist lives on to this day and is also reflected in the title of the Schirn exhibition CA.CA.

The coincidence of the result is also characteristic of his large-format "Pour Paintings," made of poured paint combined with other, sometimes incompatible elements. Beginning in the 1990s Armleder’s formal vocabulary changed to become the very opposite of Fluxus: instead of “poor materials” the works were dominated by brilliantly colourful reflective surfaces with a glamorous air. The artist confronts heterogeneous elements—poured paintings with geometric forms and objets trouvés in the tradition of Marcel Duchamp with set pieces from fashion, music and design. This mixture of high and low, and the combination of forms familiar from art history with everyday objects is a method which Armleder uses again and again. Among his best-known works are the "Furniture Sculptures," created from 1983, in which he combines geometric painting with found or used furniture and everyday objects, thereby expanding the classic picture format into the space. Consequently, his patterns extend across the whole wall in an all-over process or occupy the entire exhibition space. John M Armleder’s work is characterized by a recycling of forms with which he continuously questions the role of art in a constantly changing cultural system.

Dr. Ingrid Pfeiffer, curator of the exhibition: “John M Armleder’s art is a challenge, a conceptual tour through the art history of the 20th and 21st centuries. His is a light-footed, seductive form of Conceptual Art that satisfies not only the eye and the senses but also the critical spirit.”

John M Armleder (*1948) lives and works in Geneva. He represented Switzerland at the Venice Biennale in 1986 and took part in the Documenta 8 in Kassel in 1987. Numerous awards and exhibitions of his works followed; most recently, in 2018, two retrospectives were presented on the occasion of his 70th birthday at the Museum MADRE in Naples and at the Museion in Bolzano.

A catalog will be published in an English/German edition. Edited by Ingrid Pfeiffer with a preface by Philipp Demandt, a text by Ingrid Pfeiffer, a biography of John M Armleder and detailed views of the works.

The exhibition John M Armleder. CA.CA. is supported by the SCHIRN ZEITGENOSSEN and the Swiss cultural foundation Pro Helvetia. The publication is supported by members of the Board of Trustees and the Board of the Verein der Freunde der Schirn Kunsthalle e. V.

More Info: https://www.schirn.de

John M Armleder CA.CA.
Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt
60311 Frankfurt am Main

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