CARDI GALLERY | MILANO
On display in Milan from February 17th to June 23rd, 2017
Opening: Thursday, February 16th, at 7 pm
Cardi Gallery, Milan, is glad to present for the first time in Italy, Arman: Emersions. The exhibition, in collaboration with Corice Arman and the Arman Marital Trust, will display the series of works the artist created between 1998 and 1999, shedding a new light on this opus by combining objects and painting.
Works are composed of canvases on which portions of objects are applied and then coated in grey or dull beige acrylic paint. They give the appearance of goods/items that at one point sunk, resisted, and then re-emerged at the surface. Emersion is the opposite of immersion. Emersion is the act of emerging: coming out of a liquid environment and appearing on the surface – showing and manifesting oneself. Quoting Arman: “Many works from this series make one think about natural accidents, such as lava or mud flow. But a manmade object finds itself drowned in it, as if it were wrong for man to oppose nature.” In fact these paintings were inspired by the tragic vision of a contaminated human landscape covered with oil pollution or mud.
The rather mineral effect of their revelation against the background surface derives from the metal plating applied to chairs and bicycles, fan and watering can, adding a jasper, malachite or marble effect depending on the color employed. The impression of chromatic homogeneity is created by assembling separate elements glued together by the medium.
The series was firstly published in 1999 in a limited-edition book where it was also mentioned as Nec Mergitur, probably recalling Paris’s motto “Fluctuat nec Mergitur” literally, being tossed by the waves but not sinking.
The show will be accompanied by a book containing texts by Arman and Marcelin Pleynet, an interview to Corice Arman, enriched by exhibition views, photos of the works and of the artist at work and completed by the annexes.
His acquaintance with Yves Klein led him to the idea of organizing joint happenings and events, which the two artists realized through 1953. Arman’s neo-dadaist Cachets (stamp prints) of 1955 and later the Allures, from 1957 (prints made with objects dipped in paint), were influenced by the work of Kurt Schwitters.
In 1960 the Galerie Saint-Germain in Paris opened the solo exhibition Arman: Allures d’objets, where he focused his quest on objects for the first time. He chose the coil spring, the pincushion, the necklace of fake pearls, or the egg-shaped pebble “by the function of their possible paths on paper ... in a functional vision of the world. Arman does not consider them in themselves, but very precisely and very lucidly in their possible progression, in their potentiality of inscription through a theoretical space. They are made dynamic in their very essence.” – as the art critic Pierre Restany wrote in the catalogue. In June of that year, Schmela Gallery in Düsseldorf presented Poubelles et Accumulations and in October Iris Clert inaugurated Arman. Le Plein in her Parisian gallery. The gallery was filled with objects and garbage, some coming from Clert’s warehouse, some gathered from les halles in a section of Paris. The first show sold out and the second, conceived in response to Klein’s Le Vide, was a great success that gave Arman a central position in French avant-garde.
Arman’s way of treating objects has always been very specific: his intention is to remove their material function by transforming them with the act of slicing, destructing or burning them, so that as a work of art its only possible function is to “feed the mind”. He created his famous Poubelles, Plexiglas cases with discarded everyday objects, in the early 1960s and from these works developed Accumulations, a collection of similar objects assembled in glass or wood cases by which the artist ironically questions the one-sided waste character of mass products.
Two days after the opening of Le Plein, Arman, and the other co founders gathered at Yves Klein’s apartment at 14 rue Campagne-Première in Paris invited by Pierre Restany to sign the manifesto of Nouveau Réalisme: “The New Realists have become aware of their collective singularity. New Realism = new perceptive approaches of the real.” They were reassessing the concept of art and the artist for a 20th-century consumer society by reasserting the humanistic ideals to face industrial expansion.
Born in Nice in 1928, Armand Pierre Fernandez showed a precocious talent for painting and drawing as a child. Inspired by Vincent van Gogh, he signed his early work with his first name only and retained a 1958 printer’s misspelling of his name for the rest of his career. The son of an antiques dealer and amateur cellist, the artist absorbed an intense appreciation for music, the art of collecting and the cultivation of discriminating taste from an early age. After studies at the Ecole Nationale des Arts Décoratifs in Nice, Arman decamped to Paris to study art history at the Ecole du Louvre. His work in these early years focused on abstract paintings inspired by the work of Nicolas de Staël. An avid reader, Arman sought inspiration through books and art reviews, as well as during frequent road trips throughout Europe with his friends from Nice, Claude Pascale and Yves Klein.
Starting in the mid-1960s Arman made numerous visits to New York, and he soon came to regard it as his second home, taking American citizenship in 1973, just one year after his marriage in Nice to Corice Canton.
Besides his usual studio work and research, from 1975 until 1983 Arman spent some years working on a monumental sculpture made of 60 cars embedded in concrete, which he called Long Term Parking, commissioned by Fondation Cartier for its venue in Jouy-en-Josas, near Paris.
After working on sculptures and paintings, editions, furniture and jewelry through the Eighties and Nineties, Arman reached the new millennium as a successful and renowned artist. He died in New York in 2005.
With this exhibition, Cardi Gallery confirms once again its interest in national and international historical artists.