John Armleder, conceptual artist Featured

Exhibitions at the Venice Biennale and Documenta 8, Kassel

by 25 May 2011

The Swiss artist John M Armleder (b. 1949) is one of the most influential conceptual artists in Europe. Having grown up in the five-star hotel “Richmond” in Geneva, he now lives and works both in his home town, Geneva, and the pulsating metropolitan city New York. His art works have been shown at the most prestigious exhibitions in the art world, including the Biennale in Venice, where he exhibited at the Swiss Pavilion, and the documenta 8 in Kassel.

Works by the Swiss artist can’t be pinned down to a single mode of expression, oscillating between performance, painting, ready-mades, installations, sculptures and design. He is also active in other fields, working as a critic and curator as well as a professor at the HBK Braunschweig and at the ECAL Lausanne.

John Armleder was an instrumental figure in the Fluxus movement between 1960 and 1970, and in the 1980s his work was emblematic of the Neo-Geo artistic movement, experimenting with geometric abstraction. His “Furniture Sculptures”, juxtaposing pieces of furniture, some of them found randomly, with geometric or monochrome images, belong to his major works since 1979.

For his “Pour Paintings“ Armleder uses different types of paint and lacquer that he pours down a vertically positioned canvas, letting them run down to overlap in different layers. Finally the artist wafts a cloud of glitter onto the surface while it is still damp, conferring a gentle glimmer to the painting. The equally renowned “Puddle Paintings” are created in a similar way: Armleder pours various liquid substances onto the canvas spread out on the floor and mixes them up.

When creating a work of art, Armleder takes into account the site of his exhibition. For the St. Moritz Art Masters 2011 John M Armleder will transform the gymnasium of the old school building of St. Moritz village into a sea of light for ten days. The use of light is a central motif of his oeuvre, the interplay of colour and light creating a sensory experience with an immediate visual impact as the viewer enters the space. Inevitably various questions arise: How is light created? How do we perceive light? What moods and emotions are evoked by light? How does light influence the biological rhythm of human beings?

The artist is represented by the Gallery Andrea Caratsch, Zurich / St. Moritz (