Bronze, Signed and numbered, Ed. 140, 1994
Size US: 11 4/5 x 4 x 4 in
Size Europe: 30 x 10 x 10 cm
Arman explores reality. He strives to transform and sublimate artefacts into works of art. Everyday objects become poetry for the eye. Forks, women’s shoes, credit cards, bottle caps and revolvers. Cast, welded together or enclosed in plexiglass “vitrines”, these things are metamorphosed into a form of art that he calls “accumulations”.
Starting in the late 1950s, Arman immersed himself whole-heartedly in these inventories of reality until he passed away in 2005. He collected and amalgamated piles of junk, pens, paint tubes, rubber stamps and much else. These accumulations became his hallmark, just as much as the sliced, burnt and sawn objects of his “tantrums”, ranging from violins and Roman gods to veteran motorbikes and telephones. Arman’s sculptures lent new dimensions to objects that already were perfect as they were.
Armand Pierre Fernandez was born in Nice in November 1928. He developed his passion for artefacts in his father’s antique shop. At the age of 18, he studied at the Nice Academy of Art, but left three years later in protest against the conservative leadership. Now he set out on his own path, began to paint in earnest and, under the influence of Pollock, Schwitters and Duchamp, evolved his own idiosyncratic language of form and ideas. Initially, in the late 1950s, he painted abstract motifs. Then he turned his talents to sculpture, which in turn led to his breakthrough.
Arman died in October 2005 at the age of 76. For the last 30 years of his life he maintained two homes and studios, in New York and in Vence, in the south of France. His works featured in a total of almost 500 separate exhibitions during his lifetime. In addition to being well represented in museums around the world, he also created several works of art for public spaces, ranging from welded shopping carts, to clocks, double basses and cars stacked on top of each other. Among his best known are Hope for Peace in Beirut, À la République in the Elysée Palace in Paris, L’heure de tous and Consigne de vie outside Saint Lazare railway station in Paris. There is something animated in Arman’s work – a provocation, a challenge, an inner power in the things in which his art resides – that links the past to our own age, and casts the soul and the body as one.