press release

From October 22, 2004 to April 25, 2005, GAMeC will continue its series of Special Guest one-man shows with the new work by John Armleder entitled Voltes IV. This project by the Swiss artist, one of the most famous members of the post-conceptual generation, who has been active since the end of the 1960's as co-founder of the group of artists inspired by Fluxus “Ecart” continues the series launched by GAMeC in September 2003 with Paul Morrison's Saxifraga.

The format of the Special Guest series envisages the execution of unique works conceived for the unusual structure that hosts them – a large hall designed by the architectural firm Studio Gregotti Associati, which measures over 170 square meters and has a double height of about 7 meters: this peculiar exhibition space inspires monumental, suggestive works in which the observer is immersed.

The project, Voltes IV, envelopes the visitor in a play of lights and graphic elements: the entire wall closing the end of the hall is covered by a target with a diameter of over 6 meters, realized exclusively in white neon light that blinks on and off. The artist uses the spectrum of light and movement, thereby creating a work charged with hypnotic and abstract beauty, transforming a common element like neon into a motif of rarefied elegance. In his works, Armleder proposes a lucid and ironical reflection that ranges across the history of artistic forms of the 20 th century, mixing painting, sculpture, environmental and sound installation, video, and ready-made. All his works investigate the close relationship between daily life, functionality and theory, avant-garde and commonly used objects. The artist offers his public a dual experience: that of analysis and reflection on art as language – through frequent revisitation and citations of art from the past – without ever separating this moment from aesthetic pleasure and the search for beauty. Thanks to his ability to dissimulate a clearly conceptual attitude behind an ornamental surface, the artist creates works that fuse sophisticated irony with an almost pop fascination for the world of spectacle and entertainment, the aesthetic of consumption with reflection on the role and position of art in the contemporary cultural system.

After achieving notoriety on the international scene at the beginning of the 1980's, John Armleder managed to go beyond that extremely self-meditative and analytical decade of art and culture with flexible and relational works, thus becoming an inspiration for many artists of younger generations who brought the debate about Modernism, the applied arts, and the space of aesthetics in society back into the spotlight.

In the tradition of the Special Guest series, the exhibition catalogue, published by Silvana Editoriale, is itself an “artist's project,” conceived and designed by Armleder and containing texts by Giacinto Di Pietrantonio – Director of GAMeC – and Eric Troncy – Director of Le Consortium in Dijon. The catalogue is closed by an interview with the artist conducted by Alessandro Rabottini, Curator of GAMeC and a critical text by Bruna Roccasalva.

The exhibition has been realized with the Art Council of Switzerland Pro-Helvetia.

Biographical highlights top

One-man shows by Armleder (1948, Geneva) have been held at a number of the most prestigious contemporary art institutions in Europe and the United States, including the Wiener Secession (Vienna, 1993), Le Consortium (Dijon, 1996), and the Museum of Modern Art (New York, 2000). He has also participated in numerous international group shows, such as the Venice Biennale in 1990 and the Lyon Biennial (1993 and 2003), and at museums such as the Martin Gropius Bau (Berlin 1991), the Deichtorhallen (Hamburg, 1993), the Hong Kong Museum of Art (1995), the Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris and the Centre National d'Art Contemporain G. Pompidou, Beaubourg (Paris, 1996), the Museum of Contemporary Art (Sydney, 2001), and the Stedelijk Museum Bureau (Amsterdam, 2003).


only in german

John Armleder - Voltes IV
Kuratoren: Giacinto Di Pietrantonio, Alessandro Rabottini