John M Armleder, Scrambled & Poached
25 JUNE - 29 AUGUST 2008
John M Armleder has played a vital role in shaping postmodern European and international art practice over the last 40 years. As a co-founder of the influential Groupe Ecart in the early 1960s he helped open up new ways of producing, exhibiting and, most importantly, experiencing contemporary art to a broad public.
Armleder’s work defies easy categorisation. Despite the influence of Fluxus attitudes and the artist’s passion for the musical compositions of John Cage, Armleder’s work has always resisted the manifesto, any form of theoretical attitudes or indeed, a social or political agenda.
The objects, installations, paintings, sculptures and performances created by Armleder in recent years have always been eclectic in their nature and appearance. Through playful compositions the presented objects are often completely divorced from any formal artistic concerns. The artist actively blurs the traditional notions of the support and the surface, of the subject and object and of high and low art. As such, he challenges customary ways in which the viewer has come to perceive and experience modern and contemporary art and the nature of the places that have come to be used for its display. Armleder’s works are essentially pictorial in their compositions as they transcend the differences between decorative design and artwork. As a result, his work has always offered stirring modes of presentation whilst, at the same time, opening up the picture pane to include all its surrounding space.
“Scrambled and Poached” is symbolic of the multitude of possibilities open to the artist. In John Armleder’s long awaited solo show at Simon Lee Gallery, sparkling Drip and Pour paintings are placed alongside regularly patterned canvases and the artist’s signature furniture sculptures. The works are superimposed over wall paintings that stretch from the floor to the ceiling of the gallery and the exhibition space is again transformed in its entirety. Armleder creates an ensemble of different works from his repertoire and arranges them in the space to form a complete installation, thus demonstrating the activities that lie at the heart of his artistic practices and forming juxtapositions of familiar shapes and colours, in which the artist’s canvas and medium successfully shrug off their accepted implications.
Born in Switzerland in 1948, Armleder now lives and works between New York and Geneva, where he continues to develop ideas and strategies for his work. He has had numerous one-person exhibitions in the USA and Europe, most recently at MAMCO in Geneva, The South London Gallery in London, the ICA in Pennsylvania and the Contemporary Art Museum in St. Louis. He has also been part of hundreds of group shows around the world and features in significant international collections, such as that of the Musée d´Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, Centre Pompidou, Paris; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Kunstmuseum, Basel; Kunstmuseum, Zurich; Moderna Museet, Stockholm; Sammlung Ludwig, Vienna and Staatsgalerie, Stuttgart.