David Kordansky Gallery is pleased to present a selection of new Pour and Puddle Paintings by John Armleder at Art Basel OVR: Pioneers. Recognized as one of the leading Swiss artists of his generation, Armleder brings together an unlikely range of disciplines to produce works that are as visually engaging as they are conceptually provocative. Like his Dada and Fluxus predecessors, Armleder employs chance as a primary engine for creating surprising combinations of forms, materials, and ideas. Painting constitutes a major area of his experimentation, and the Pour and Puddle Paintings featured in this presentation have been important areas of focus over the last decade.
If you are interested in purchasing the featured works or inquiring about additional works by John Armleder, please click "INQUIRE" below to email our team. The exhibition will be on view through March 28, 2021.
Armleder will be in virtual conversation with Heidi Zuckerman, CEO and Director of OCMA/The Orange County Museum of Art, on Thursday, March 25, at 8:30 AM PT / 11:30 AM ET / 4:30 PM CET. Please register here to receive the discussion link.
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In the Pour Paintings, Armleder allows paint—often mixed with glitter and other materials—to stream down the faces of his canvases, where it accumulates in overlapping veils of color and texture. The works included here are rare, medium-format examples of this typology. They have the paradoxical effect of expanding its range, as Armleder has often turned to pouring processes when producing large, installation-based paintings. At this scale, the Pour Paintings call to mind more intimate landscapes and tableaux, with quasi-narrative relationships between forms and colors that obscure, reveal, and blend into one another. The textural delights of the glitter, which bring attention to each work’s surface, accentuate the surprising sense of depth that emerges from Armleder’s aleatory compositions, and serve as a reminder that chance is devoid of neither consciousness nor humor. In fact, the Pour Paintings make plain that what we see is always dependent on the randomness of the encounter between our eyes, our minds, and the changing conditions of the world.
The Puddle Paintings, meanwhile, are made with the canvas laid flat on the ground; after large quantities of paint puddle on the surface, a variety of objects—plastic toys, Styrofoam balls, and other bric-a-brac—are then tossed into areas where the pooled paint has yet to dry. Because Armleder employs paints based on different chemical compositions, they interact with one another in unpredictable ways, producing surprising relief and dimensionality. The combinations are endless and varied, as are the visual and tactile qualities they bring into being. These paintings carry abstract expressionism to its logical—or illogical—conclusion, calling to mind the work of its heroines and heroes while dispensing with its pieties. At the same time, their effusiveness is an open invitation to any and every viewer who approaches them in the here and now.
Armleder retains—and refreshes—the shocks that are woven into the very notion of “modern” art by replacing its formal endgames with questions about what art is in the first place. In the case of the Puddle and Pour Paintings, this means that the intentions of the artist are an open quantity through which the materials enact their own improvised dance. The results strike a balance between the lightness of spirit, conceptual precision, and radical generosity that define Armleder’s approach, and that make his work so impactful and generative for other artists, seasoned art audiences, and newcomers alike.
Later this year, John Armleder (b. 1948, Geneva) will be the subject of a solo show at the Rockbund Art Museum, Shanghai; It Never Ends, a major exhibition curated by the artist and also featuring his work, is on view at KANAL-Centre Pompidou, Brussels through April 25. 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). His work is part of 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.