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John M Armleder

Liberty Dome CP, XI; Liberty Dome LD, XII , 2006
24 silver acrylic domes, 72 silver acrylic hemispheres
dimensions variables
Thanks to a novel proposal by John M Armleder, who came to work on site at the new Pictet headquarters in 2006, the building’s first floor hall features two installations that are spread over three walls. The first installation, located behind the reception, is made up of four sets of eighteen domes. The second comprises two series of twelve hemispherical mirrors aligned face to face on the side walls.

Arranged in regular lines, these hemispheres are organised like dots on a sheet of wallpaper. The linear layout of the objects tends to abolish their volume, lending them the look of a decorative motif. The form of these domes reminds us just how much circles, rings and spheres punctuate Armleder’s work, to such an extent that the artist “roundly”decided not to place a dot after the “M”of his middle name.

This idea of wallpaper also suggests the principle of equivalence that is dear to the artist, who sees no hierarchy in the arts. He constantly questions the status of the work with respect to decoration and in this instance consciously reappropriates a functional object (a security mirror) to create a decorative ensemble.

With a touch of humour, Armleder retains the commercial names of these mirrors in the title of the piece, Liberty Dome, thus pointing up the subtle line that exists between the concepts of “liberty” and “security”. By increasing the number of these domes in juxtaposition, he succeeds in neutralising their security aspect and, in a liberating gesture, causes them to assume a new role. In this way, behind a flashy appearance, the entrance hall is freed from the look of a secure, guarded area and leans towards a more festive atmosphere.
John M Armleder, Liberty Dome CP, XI; Liberty Dome LD, XII , 2006