Schirn Kunsthalle

John M Armleder

07 Jun - 01 Sep 2019

John M Armleder, CA.CA., exhibition view. © Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt, 2019. Photo: Norbert Miguletz.
7 June – 1 September 2019

Curator: Dr. Ingrid Pfeiffer

With His Expan­sive Instal­la­tions John M Armleder Finds Commen­taries On Our Present Day Reality And The Status Of Art

John M Armleder is regarded as one of the most important concept, performance and object artists of the present day. From June 7 until September 1, 2019 the Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt is presenting new, expansive installations that he develops specially for the exhibition and which are shown both in- and outside. Armleder’s 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. The artist 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. For the Schirn Armleder is creating an installation in the freely accessible Rotunda. Twenty disco balls mounted at different heights are multiplied in its windows covered with mirror film. Inside the Schirn, he will assemble further works and installations, including new Pour Paintings, wall paintings and sculptures such as an inverted double children’s slide that forms part of his Furniture Sculptures.

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.

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. Areas of colour, stripes, rings and other geometric elements in Armleder’s works are familiar from Classic Modernism. He repeatedly cites art history – especially the abstract-geometric tradition and Conceptual Art. 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. 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 SCHIRN KUNSTHALLE FRANKFURT, PRESS RELEASE “JOHN M ARMLEDER. CA.CA.”, MAY 20, 2019, PAGE 2 OF 2 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.”

Dr. Ingrid Pfeiffer, curator of the exhibition, adds: “John M Armleder’s art is a challenge, a conceptual tour through the art history of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. His is a lightfooted, 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.
The exhibition is supported by the SCHIRN ZEITGENOSSEN, a group of private patrons of contemporary art at the Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt. The Schirn would like to thank Jan Bauer and Lena Wallenhorst, Oliver and Nicole Behrens, Andreas Fendel, Olaf Gerber and Nicole Emmerling de Oliveira, Markus Hammer and Birgit Heller, Hartmuth and Lilia Jung, Andreas Lukic and Sunhild Theuerkauf-Lukic, Shahpar Oschmann, Jörg Rockenhäuser and Vasiliki Basia, Reiner Sachs and Brigitta Bailly for their commitment.

Tags: John M. Armleder