John Armleder (b. 1948, Geneva) is a singular figure in postwar art and one of the most representative Swiss artists of his generation. His career spans five decades and synthesizes many of the competing aesthetic developments associated with that period. A productive friction—along with an abiding sense of humor and conceptual provocation—animates his earliest work with the Groupe Ecart in Switzerland, his many projects informed by his association with the Fluxus movement, and his interest in John Cage’s work in particular. Since that time, he has made important contributions to the development of painting, sculpture, installation, design, and performance. Accordingly, Armleder operates on many fronts at once, drawing from legacies of seemingly divergent movements like Dada and abstract expressionism, and approaching each exhibition as an uncompromising and often unpredictable work in and of itself.
John Armleder is currently the subject of a solo exhibition at the Rockbund Art Museum, Shanghai, on view through December 19. It Never Ends, carte blanche to John Armleder, a major exhibition curated by the artist and featuring his work, was also on view in 2021 at KANAL – Centre Pompidou, Brussels. Over the last decade alone, he has presented solo exhibitions at the Aspen Art Museum, Colorado (2019); Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt, Germany (2019); MUSEION, Bolzano, Italy (2018); Museo Madre, Naples, Italy (2018); Istituto Svizzero, Rome (2017); Le Consortium, Dijon, France (2014); Fernand Léger National Museum, Biot, France (2014); Dairy Art Centre, London (2013); Swiss Institute, New York (2012); and Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice, Italy (2011). Notable group exhibitions include Ice and Fire: A Benefit in Three Parts, The Kitchen, New York (2020); THE ARTIST IS PRESENT, curated by Maurizio Cattelan, Yuz Museum, Shanghai (2018); and The Trick Brain, Aïshti Foundation, Beirut. His work is in the permanent collections of many museums, including the Centre Pompidou, Paris; Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles; Kunstmuseum Basel, Switzerland; Museum of Modern Art, New York; and Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebæk, Denmark. Armleder lives and works in Geneva.
John M. Armleder in conversation with Mai-Thu Perret