John Armleder at Swiss Institute, New York

By Emmy Lee | Posted on October 8th, 2012

John Armelder, Painting with Coat Hanger, 1984 Courtesy Collection Michael Lowe

The Swiss Institute in New York recently opened an exhibition of works by John Armleder called Selected Furniture Sculptures 1979–2012. I’m curious to check out this exhibition because when I read it’s title I immediately thought of Ken Lum’s Furniture Sculptures, works literally made as their name suggests from arrangements of found sofas and sofabeds. And my mind turned to Brian Jungen’s monumental teepee of the same name (which riffs off Lum’s sculptural installations) constructed from the skins of leather couches. Similarly, Armelder uses found materials in his installations and his show consists of paintings, both small and large in scale, paired with antique furniture or new objects such as musical instruments, surfboards or lighting fixtures, anticipating the way many paintings end up in domestic environments. He removes the painting from the pristine “white cube” of museums and confronts the everyday reality that many canvases face – integration into the décor of a home. In creating a hybrid work encompassing elements of traditional high art as well as quotidian objects, Armelder plays with the notion of a painting as a mere object.


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