Accumulation with tubes of acrylic paint and acrylic paint on canvas
47.52 x 35.51 x 3.54 in / framed 52.36 x 40.16 x 4.33 in
Catalogue Raisonné Archive Arman Studios, N. Y., No. 8031.90.002
- with craftsman's frame -
Über das Werk
Armand Pierre Fernandez, or Arman as he became known, was born in Nice in 1928 and died in New York in 2005. He first garnered public attention in the 1950s with his painting of objects and quotidian items. Following his series of "Poubelles" (or dustbins) - assemblages of various used objects and refuse - he created the group of works entitled "Accumulations" in the early 1960s, in which the artist assembled an array of identical object in transparent vitrines. Together with Yves Klein, César, Jean Tinguely and Daniel Spoerri, Arman was a founding member of the "Nouveaux Réalisme" movement, which emerged in Paris in the 1960s. These artists were united by their fascination for the banal and the trivial in our mass consumer society, seeing in them a new raw material for their art with which they at times provocatively expanded the conventional definition of art, citing the Avantgarde of the early 1920s, and above all the Cubists and the Dadaists as their key sources of inspiration.
With his accumulations of found and ready-made objects, Arman was exploring the experimental possibilities of the collage in the context of abstract art. He continually sought to interrogate the purpose, design and significance of the individual items through their densely configured arrangement. In this present untitled work from 1990, Arman mounts a large number of paint tubes onto the canvas in such a way as to ensure that their alignment and quantity decrease successively from top to bottom. The seeming downward flow of the squeezed-out paint conjures the impression of an immediate, and at the same time, spontaneous working process. The reduction to yellow and black acrylic colours generates an intensive, yet contrasting effect in the painting. By virtue of the vibrant interplay between the tubes, the massive pastiosity of the paints lends the work a relief-like quality and a pulsating rhythmic tension. With the application of paint tubes, Arman succeeds in creating an astonishing similitude between motif and representation, material and pictorial theme. The plethora of items concentrates our gaze on the featured object, which paradoxically loses its individuality within the multitude. With his trademark cryptic irony and humour, Arman underscores in his Accumulations that identical objects, sharing the same functionality, do not in anyway appear to be the same, but each is possessed of a distinctive, individual and expressive character, which, in turn, only becomes visible and experiential within the accumulation. And although the paint tubes appear worthless after use, they are in this artistic context invested with new and surprising meaning.