Massimo De Carlo London is pleased to present RCHX a new solo exhibition by John Armleder. In his practice John Armleder plays with the humour, irony and inventiveness that characterised the Fluxus movement. The artist’s universe takes shape through canvases and installations that create a whimsical and glittering atmosphere, questioning the boundaries between art and design, figuration and abstraction.
RCHX, which occupies all three floors of the gallery, is composed of a new series of works created specifically for this exhibition, that are part of Armleder’s iconic series such as the Pour Paintings, Puddle Paintings and Furniture Sculptures, all commenced in the late eighties.
In the large scale Pour Paintings the artist pours paint vertically down the canvas, using chance and the force of gravity as allies. The results of the paint pouring downward are casual compositions of colours and shapes, of different gradients and shades that leave the viewer freedom to decode and interpret what they see. The pour paintings are either shown alone or juxtaposed, with recurring wallpaper motifs on canvas such as the eerie looking cat or with a different canvas as if the work was split in half.
On the ground floor the viewer is confronted with one of John Armleder’s Furniture Sculptures, composed of three electric guitars (a recurring presence in the Furniture Sculpture series) and two pale-coloured paintings that resemble glass coasters. Each furniture sculpture combines objects with canvases, initiating a reflection on the notions of spatiality and object hood: here is the sublime of abstract painting with the rigorous poverty of Fluxus.
In the Puddle Paintings, which in RCHX vary from large to smaller scale canvases, dense threads of different colours of paint trap bizarre objects (such as small light bulbs, fridge magnets and ear plugs) together with decorations like flower petals, plants, and bits of garlands. The puddle paintings are the surprise result of daring combinations of chemicals and paints: each mixture creating unexpected results and coloured bubbles of paint and glitter that capture and confine the scattered objects on the canvas. The slathered surfaces and exploded bubbles confer to the canvas the murky and wild aspect of the bed of a river or a lake: are they poisonous contaminations or shrines to the shimmer of consumerism?
As in John Armleder’s practice, each work in RCHX becomes part of an ever-changing yet habitual narrative, which is hard to define yet unique, light-hearted yet demanding. The kitsch and the experimental, the unconventional and the severe are all present in each of these works: every canvas is a journey into a dazzling universe, that doesn’t ask for intangible approval or interpretation but invites the viewer to lightly connect the thin, buoyant and poignant threads that tether us to the earth.
On the occasion of RCHX, works by John Armleder will also be on show at the Mayfair gallery and Richoux Café, both across the road from the gallery.