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John Armleder (B. 1948)
All sold and unsold lots marked with a filled squa… Read more
John Armleder (B. 1948)

La Locanda

Details
John Armleder (B. 1948)
La Locanda
signed and dated 'John Armleder 2007' (on the overlap)
acrylic, lacquer and glitter on canvas
98 3/8 x 59 5/8in. (250.5 x 151.4cm.)
Executed in 2007
Provenance
Massimo De Carlo, Milan.
Acquired from the above by the present owner.
Special notice

All sold and unsold lots marked with a filled square in the catalogue that are not cleared from Christie’s by 5:00 pm on the day of the sale, and all sold and unsold lots not cleared from Christie’s by 5:00 pm on the fifth Friday following the sale, will be removed to the warehouse of ‘Cadogan Tate’. Please note that there will be no charge to purchasers who collect their lots within two weeks of this sale.

Lot Essay

‘I never really believed in “author.” I think that we are collective beings; our intelligence is the result of an exchange, a conversation or a negotiation, which is of course defined by the time or place in which we live. Nowadays, I think that we can escape the place where we live…’ (J. Armleder, interview with A. Bellini, ‘Curated by John Armleder’, in Kaleidoscope, Issue 21, Summer 2014, reproduced at http://www.ok-rm.co.uk/project/kaleidoscope-21).

With its luminous cascade of colours ranging from green to yellow, to an intense red, La Locanda, 2007, is a beautiful example of John Armleder’s abstract pictorial vocabulary. Playing with the legacy of Minimalism and Abstract Expressionism, Armleder reinvents Modernist painting for a Postmodern audience. As Giacinto Di Pietrantonio has observed, ‘The idea one gets when looking at the work of John Armleder is the idea of the twentieth century itself, the age of modernity’ (G. di Pietrantonio, ‘Images, Things and Participation’, in Parkett, No. 50/51, 1997, p. 31). La Locanda’s vibrant washes of paint drip and intermingle over the surface of the canvas, recalling Morris Louis’ iconic canvases of surging colour. The chromatic swaths achieve a luminescent effect that seems to emerge from the surface of the canvas while permeating throughout. Layers of thinned pigment soak into the canvas, leaving the grain of fabric visible, which provides the work with a unique texture. Armleder’s training with the Fluxus group in the 1960s and 1970s is underlined in La Locanda by the artist’s reliance on the force of gravity for the creation of chance encounters of texture and colour.
One of the most influential Swiss artists of his generation, Armleder has always resisted any categorisation or affiliation with any particular artistic agenda. Influenced by John Cage’s improvisational and performative practice, the artist is interested in the viewer’s diverse responses to his work, as well as in the nature of the exhibition space and the way it influences the experience of art. As Armleder has explained: ‘In my opinion, it’s the viewer who produces a work of art by using a fund of information he or she has received or acquired. It’s obvious that a painting by Fra Angelico will not be viewed today in the same way as when it was painted. It’s something created the very moment you start looking at it. Once we have become aware of this as artists, we know people won’t see the same things we did while we were painting’ (J. Armleder, quoted in ‘John M Armleder’, in Annual Magazine, Issue 5, 2012, www.annualartmagazine.com/conversation/john-marmleder).

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