Sorry, you need to enable JavaScript to visit this website.

John M Armleder

Cuora Flavomarginata, 2006
mixed media on canvas
240.0 x 170.0 cm
The arrangement of forms on these two canvases conjures up the image of a firework. Bursts of colours are scattered in different directions whilst glass debris has been trapped in the pigment. This visual explosion is adorned with silver glitter, raspberry highlights and pearly or glossy colours: “A very beautiful image, totally stellar’, to borrow the description proposed by the artist himself, for whom ‘the question of good or bad taste” does not exist.

The canvases are worked on horizontally and form action surfaces, i.e., the scene of the interactions taking place amongst the different components that are poured on them. Paint, varnish, ground glass, glass beads or sequins react chemically to one other, jostle or mix according to the relative randomness of their encounters. A formless puddle, vestige of the weight of the pigments and materials used, collects on the painting as it lies on the ground and solidifies as it dries. Hence the name given to the series, peintures à flaque, or “puddle paintings”: “The floods are paintings that look like puddles. They are painted as if by accident, an uncontrolled accident. The paint, treated like a skin, dries very quickly above and below; it makes a kind of bubble and will go its own way with complete independence. It’s the excess of material I’m interested in.”

A minimum of two weeks after the performance, the artist rights the canvas and, as is often the case, a significant surplus of liquid drains towards the bottom: “…There is no difference between a dripping and a geometrical composition… except that varnish drippings take a hell of a long time to dry”, says Armleder,who does not believe in the notion of style as an end in itself, and who refuses to lay down a hierarchy in the arts, preferring “to play the part of the interior designer”.

Although the artist clearly brings his intentions to bear through the selection of materials and their distribution on the canvas, chance plays a considerable role when producing the picture and well beyond its creation, since the chemical reactions of the components continue to evolve. “If there’s no accident, there’s no work of art. But there’s always an accident, everything begins with an accident. The least sterile is to produce a chain of accidents afterwards.”
John M Armleder, Cuora Flavomarginata, 2006