John M. Armleder (born. 1948) is a Swiss artist whose paintings, sculptures, performances and installations have been highly influential to subsequent generations of artists.
The roots of Armleder’s practice can be traced back to his interest as a young artist in the avant-garde art movement Fluxus. Fluxus is closely associated with the American composer John Cage. It found importance in ideas of chance and happenings and had an anti-establishment and
egalitarian view of culture. Taking inspiration from the Fluxus artist Robert Filou’s statement ‘you shouldn’t go where the scene is happening, you should bring the scene to you’ Armleder worked collaboratively and set up an important art centre, a bookshop and performance space for Fluxus in Geneva in the mid 1960s.
Although Armleder works with many different media and often uses found objects in his sculptures and assemblages, he sees his work, due to its method of display, as always relating directly to painting. He has said “It is about painting even when it is sculpture or even when it is a performance piece”.
For Newlyn Art Gallery, Armleder has created an exuberant installation, which juxtaposes canvases and wall paintings. Many different references from art history and contemporary culture can be seen in this installation – from the central series of ‘abstract’ poured paintings to works which use graphic and representational designs. This synthesis is both visual and conceptual. It shows us how the boundaries between abstract art, pop art, design, painting and installation have become blurred as ideas associated with one idiom are brought into
contrast with those from another.