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  • Provenance

    Art & Public, Geneva

  • Catalogue Essay

    Artist John M Armleder has established a reputation for his ability to create environments of such complexity and interest with a spectacular reluctance towards any notions of editing, this sentiment is perfectly embodied in the title of the show our current lot appeared in, Too Much is Not Enough, his attitude towards art explicitly demands more, more, more from both himself and his audience. The artist powerful and unapologetic embracement of over the top imagery borders on the grotesque and vulgar but seems to articulate perfectly the questionable ideals of contemporary culture. This attitude that comes with equal portions of ‘Bad boy charisma’ and ‘intellectual wit’ that has placed Armleder in a pivotal position shaping postmodern European and international art practice over the last forty years. As a co-founder of the influential Groupe Ecart in the early 1960s he helped open up new ways of producing, exhibiting and, most importantly, experiencing contemporary art to a broad public. Armleder’s work refuses any categorization, obliterating the notions high and low art. Armleder not only presented a challenge to the customary formats of which the viewer perceives and experiences art works but he presented entirely new formats. 
     
    Our present lot is an example of Armleder’s complete faith in his materials to do what he does best, in this case creating an environment that vacillates between the divine and the absurd in a silently twinkling room filled with mirror balls. The suspended mirror balls encapsulate the viewers in a state of distorted nostalgia; the imagery birth out of the disco era relies on memories of institutions such as Studio 54. The silent disco atmosphere is obviously laden with tongue-in-cheek sentiments but it when we consider this within the context of the gallery that it becomes ever challenging. This piece makes us question design, the readymade, and kitsch, and how they marry, if they do at all. This work is an engaging work that understands its audiences desire to be challenged and amazed simultaneously. 
     
    “I am only concerned with putting these things together and letting them work as snares. The meaning will come out of whatever is trapped in there. I wouldn’t start by being trapped myself and then building the pit around me. I convey all sorts of visual devices, instruments, and toys, and set them free. Friends and victims will activate them in ways I won’t ever imagine using them myself. The story is yours to tell. Like any old mirror, I guess. Mercurium Delight!” (Quote taken from John M Armleder Too Much Is Not, Kunstverein Hannover, November 25, 2006 – January 28, 2007, p. 105)

     

317

Untitled

2001
Mixed media installation comprised of 10 glass mirrored fibreglass disco balls, turner motors and 20 spotlights.
Installation dimensions variable; each disco ball: 50 cm. (19 3/4 in). diameter.

Estimate
£50,000 - 70,000 Ω

Sold for £61,250

Contemporary Art Evening Sale

18 Oct 2008, 7pm
London