Born 1948, Geneva, Switzerland
John 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. 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.
Armleder frequently examines the context in which art is displayed and views the exhibition as a medium in its own right. He has questioned the notion of the authenticity of art with installations that united found objects (second-hand or new) with abstract paintings executed by 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.
Armleder’s work Canvallaira Majalis 2003 on show in the exhibition takes as its starting point the work of the American colour field painter Morris Louis (a contemporary of Keneth Noland whose work from the 1970s is also in the exhibition. Noland and Louis broke barriers in painting in the late 1950s by directly staining paint into raw canvas. Armleder’s painting brings that process up to by referencing Louis’s technique of pouring paint down the front of the canvas but adding a sparkle to the outcome.