John Armleder, Alchemilla Vulgaris, 2006
Alchemilla Vulgaris, 2006. Mixed media on canvas. 260 x 140 cm (102 3/8 x 55 1/8 in). Signed, titled and dated 'John Armleder 2006 Alchemilla Vulgaris' on the overlap.
PROVENANCE Galerie Andrea Caratsch, Zurich Private Collection
John M. Armleder is a Swiss artist who defies categorisation. Indeed curator Fabrice Stroun has commented that “Armleder’s art never looks quite like itself”. From his early affiliation with Fluxus and Dada, Armleder’s work combines critical appropriation with a light-hearted playfulness. Artworks are often presented within complete installations. From the Furniture Sculptures and skull murals to the alchemic Puddle Paintings, Armleder never allows us to become over-familiar, with every working and re-working a new development is presented. In Alchemilla Vulgaris, the swathes of vertical colour in columns down the monumental canvas recall the paintings of American Abstract Expressionists Morris Louis and Larry Poons. Elements of chance and performance come into play as a scattering of glitter creates an effervescent theatricality across the surface. With Alchemilla Vulgaris, the scientific name for a common garden plant, Armleder toys with our expectations of grandiose titles and allusions to Modernist heroism. With its subtle combination of Modernist cues and gentle playfulness, Alchemilla Vulgaris is a fine example of this artist’s work. “I believe the work that is considered to be mine is someone else’s… anybody’s…the whole world. My work is a cultural event, an inevitable event. If all artists were to disappear, art would be produced by others with a different understanding, different means and different materials. As an individual, an artist simply fills a void. He is the means to an end, so that this arrangement, this accumulation of events can be organized.” (The artist in ‘Une sorte de salade russe sans oublier la mayonnaise: a conversation with Christian Bernard and Francois Ninghetto’, Semaine No. 01, 2006)