John Armleder  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

John Armleder (born in Geneva in 1948) is a Swiss artist. He first came on the scene during his involvement with Fluxus in the 1960s and 1970s, when he created performances, installations and collective activities. In 1969, with Patrick Lucchini and Claude Rychner, Armleder founded the Groupe Ecart in Geneva, from which stemmed the Galerie Ecart and its associated performance group and publications.

In 1969, John Armleder created the Groupe Ecart with other artists close to Fluxus and strongly influenced by John Cage, who he met early in his life. The Groupe Ecart was particularly important in Europe during the 1970s and 1980s, not only through its activity as an independent publishing house, but also because it introduced in Switzerland - and sometimes in Europe - a large number of notable artists, including Joseph Beuys and Andy Warhol.

Armleder was later associated with Neo-Geo artistic movement, was often referred to as the "darling" of the New York art critics in this period. He never proclaimed affiliation with the Neo-Geo movement or, indeed, any other movement. One of his positions throughout his career has been to avoid associating his artistic practice with any type of manifesto.

Since the 1990s, he has created installations, paintings, wall paintings, sculptures and what he calls "Furniture Sculptures" - installations which usually juxtapose furniture with monochrome or abstract paintings, either literally on the furniture or on a canvass hanging nearby. His work has varied greatly in form, and has, since the beginnings, used chance as a method of producing the final forms that pieces take, much like John Cage. He often uses a dense scenographic hanging style, putting individual works into close proximity and creating installation-like exhibitions.

In 2004, a retrospective exhibition of his works on paper was shown at the Kunsthalle Zurich in Zurich, Switzerland, and later travelled to the ICA in Philadelphia. In the winter of 2006-2007, a large exhibition including works from all eras of his career was shown at the Mamco (Museum of modern and contemporary art) in Geneva, Switzerland. John Armleder has been particularly influential on a young generation of artists in Switzerland, France, and probably elsewhere. His influence can be seen in the Swiss Pavilion at the 2007 Venice Biennial.

The French version of this article is listed under John M. Armleder (although, in fact, the M is not an initial, but, rather, a letter he inserted by choice, a sort of pen name). For those interested, the references cited in the French article, and the list of exhibitions, are much more complete.

The Reality Bag is an exciting new product, adapted from the PUMA Urban Mobility Edition Bag, which launched last season. The Reality Bag is designed to reflect the world inside and out through a clever use of innovative materials and design detail. To develop the concept of this original accessory, the Serpentine Gallery invited artist John Armleder to create its look and feel. Armleder also created the concept of the content and invited young artists to create artworks to go inside each of the 1000 Reality Bags. This makes The Reality Bag an original, multiple artwork containing original pieces by the artist himself and by invitees including John Trembley and Philippe Decreuzat. Many other artists will contribute books, DVDs, or anthologies, as Armleder plays with the idea of the bag as a portable gallery. The result is a truly individual work of art.

The Reality Bag will go into select stores worldwide in January 2008.

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "John Armleder" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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