John M(ichael) Armleder
Avec les deux lustres (FS), 1987-1993

John M. Armleder’s Avec les deux lustres (FS) created in 1993 ranks among the furniture sculpture work group. The two 24-armed chandeliers made of brass, mounted on either side of a canvas, are slightly rusty and clearly reveal the traces of use. This picture object sums up the borders crossed by 20th century art and design, from De Stijl and Bauhaus via Minimal to the visual overkill of contemporary hysteria about design and presentation. The image paraphrases the classical American Color Field Painting of artists like Barnett Newman, for example, in its size and color scheme. To the extent that the ensemble plays with the religious triptych type and the chandeliers’ frontality triggers associations with rose windows and haloes, the two chandeliers are also commenting ironically on the transcendental claim of Post-Painterly abstraction e.g. of Newman’s art by both presenting it demonstratively and exploiting it to gain their own enigmatic charge. Duchamp and Malewitsch, anti-art and idealistic aesthetics – the two great opposites of 20th century art – have come together in John M. Armleder’s work as a smoothly functioning entity.

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