John Armleder: Again, Just Again
Shanghai’s Rockbund Art Museum is very pleased to present the first major survey exhibition of the renowned Swiss artist John Armleder in China: “Again, Just Again”. As the inaugural highly anticipated exhibition after the museum’s major renovation, “Again, Just Again” is a celebration of his influential five decades of work and inspired by the many inter-disciplinary detours in art throughout this journey. The exhibition features an ambitious display of new and existing work such as painting, ready-mades, works created on-site, works on paper, site-specific wall drawings, and archival material. With each floor of the museum, the spaces inside and outside of exhibition halls have been transformed through a unique scenography assembled to guide the audience through a choreography of unexpected encounters and visual experiences.
Taking the spirit of the artist’s embrace of chance, open-endedness, and collective experimentation, the exhibition is also proud to include collaborations between the artist, the museum, and other practitioners to intervene, translate, and ultimately to extend new associations and meanings in response to different elements of Armleder’s wide-ranging oeuvre. Following the artist’s long curiosity into inviting collaborators outside of the world of art to re-appropriate and completely redefine the order and way of seeing his work, the museum is delighted to commission the acclaimed Shanghai-based photographer, Leslie Zhang, to take authorial direction over an entire exhibition hall on the third floor, transforming the space into a contemplative mis-en-scene, whose spatial and aesthetic design will draw on his own personal language and memories in response to a curated selection of Armleder’s works. Elsewhere on the fifth floor, an ambitious and rare display of the artist’s drawings and experimental works on paper, ranging from pen and ink, watercolor, gouache, acrylic oil and collage, will be installed in conjunction with archival material and a unique site-specific wall drawing, a rich and layered ensemble created especially for the exhibition in conversation with the artist.
For the duration of “Again, Just Again”, Rockbund Art Museum will host a series of public programming and educational events including: guide tours, walk and talk, lectures, conversations, panel discussions, live music, performance, body workshops, adult and family workshops. Highlighting key concepts of chance, repetition, and appropriation, the program looks to further expand on the themes in the exhibition to encourage audiences to probe, experience, and acquire an in-depth look into and behind the exhibition through a fun and inspirational way.
Born in 1948, Geneva, Switzerland, John Armleder has been defining figure across many different fields and discourses related to art through an influential career that has continually involved interchanging fluidly between the roles of painter, performance artist, sculptor, archivist, collector, curator, editor, and sometimes gallery owner. In 1969, he co-founded the group ECART (écart means “gap,” “interval,” “divergence” in French) in the spirit of the Fluxus movement. During the 1970s and 1980s, ECART were prolific as a bridge between Switzerland and the outside world, which involved a prolific output of multi-faceted activities and collaborations with a large number of leading artists of the era, including Joseph Beuys and Andy Warhol. Exhibitions and performances were participatory and experimental, created at a time with a strong collective desire to transform the world. The structure of ECART functioned as a hybrid alternating between functions as a publishing house, bookstore, and gallery, a pioneering model whose influence provided a vital blueprint for ideas still used in institutions and alternative spaces today.