John M Armleder

Untitled 2002
12 Fluorescent tubes, wires
Variable Dimensions

John M Armleder

Born 1948, Geneva, Switzerland

John M Armleder is a performance artist, sculptor, and painter, whose multi-faceted activities are connected by drawing. Affiliated with Fluxus in the late 1960s and 70s, the value of ephemerality and the notion that art is the conduction of creative energy are central to his work. John M Armleder’s use of many different materials and found objects was demonstrated vividly in his 2006 exhibition at Tate Liverpool that incorporated a multitude of materials including televisions, scaffolding, mirrors, lights, CD players, animals, pot plants and Christmas trees, creating a riotous and magical world of disorientating beauty and mystery.

John M Armleder frequently examines the context in which art is displayed and views the exhibition as a medium in its own right. In earlier works he questioned the notion of the authenticity of art with installations that united found objects (second-hand or new) with abstract paintings executed by John M Armleder himself, many of which ironically referred to previous modernist examples. He creates dialogues between disparate objects by placing them within an exhibition context, raising the question of possible equivalences that are created between them when viewed in such a setting. As such the two works shown in ‘Lightness of Being’ appropriately explore and comment on the place of neon and fluorescent light as utilitarian items that can be converted and displayed as art. The random placing of fluorescent tubes demonstrates that the commonplace once recontextualised can become a work of art and a thing of beauty while Voltes V 2004 employs the ripple effect used in large scale neon advertising to create a wave of light throughout the gallery.  In contrast to the other neon works on show, John M Armleder’s two pieces contain no text and are formerly abstract. Although their origin lies clearly in everyday media, their  presence as art highlights the process of the artist’s selection as a powerful aspect of the making of art.