John Armleder (born 1954) is one of the most important and influential Swiss artists of the present day. He deals with art itself by means of his wide-ranging stylistic and formulaic vocabulary, thereby creating an inimitable universe of diverse and impressive works that vary between the fields of art, design, concept, geometry, Pop, and Trash. Well-known due his many international exhibitions such as at the Venice Biennale and in the Museum of Modern Art in New York, Armleder, who has been a professor at the HBK Braunschweig since 1994, constantly re-asks the questions about what art is, and what art can do, and what art is allowed.
Site-specific installations, appropriated ready-mades, paint splashes, and geometrical constructivist paintings describe Armleder's allusions to diverse movements of modern art. He consistently refers to their central ideas and argues strictly in favor of the principle of using images and objects within and outside the artistic context as freely available material.
John Armleder will show a complex group of works in the Kunstverein Hannover in which he cross-references pieces from the most diverse phases of his career in rooms covered entirely by his wall paintings for the first time, including works created or newly re-staged expressly for Hannover. Several examples of the emblematic Furniture Sculptures (such as “Untitled (FS)”, 1997) will be on show that combine industrially manufactured pieces of furniture with geometric painting. In the tradition of Duchamp, Armleder shifts everyday items into an artistic context, a process in which he questions the concept of art as well as the concept of an individual artistic authorship. In the Kunstverein Hannover, the curators will assemble the piece “Ne Dites pas Non!” (1996/2000), in which art and design furniture produce an installative spatial image, according to his instructions.
New pieces in which Armleder works with neon lights, mirrors, flowers, Korean light trees, projections and reflecting discotheque lights play a central role in the exhibition. In addition, nine large-format Puddle Paintings made in 2005 will be shown. These are based on the Pour Paintings from the 1980s that are characterized by a free gestural style in which paint and lacquer are experimentally mixed on the canvas. These processual paintings differ greatly from the strict geometrical abstractions and decorative elements on monochromatic background, for example the Wall Paintings, which were also produced during the 1980s. Especially these wall paintings, which will extend over all the rooms of the Kunstverein and thereby serving as the backdrop of the entire exhibition, cross the boundaries between free and applied arts, design, decorations, and site-specific installations.
In “Asymcymetes“ and “Mondo-Tiki Radiolaria” (2005), John Armleder will restage a previously existing work to create a new installation that has never been seen before in this form. On over-sized shelves one can find a wide-ranging, extravagant assembly of colorfully shimmering plastic elements, video monitors, real and artificial flowers, shiny trinkets, fluorescent lights, ghetto blasters, Plexiglas, soft toys, as well as his own works. With this connection of things, Armleder succeeds in creating a lightness with a clearly recognizable proximity to Dada and Fluxus. With the combination of ready-mades and abstraction, Armleder formulates the possibility of understanding art as the reevaluation of cultural values: He ironically mixes art and the everyday, allows the trivial to shine brilliantly, and offers it in front of a gaudily colored and strict geometrical background:
Too Much is not Enough.