Whitford Fine Art
6 Duke Street St James's
London SW1Y 6BN
020 7930 9332
Armand Pierre Fernandez was born in Nice and lived in the French Meditterranean coast until 1947, when he travelled in Europe with Yves Klein and Claude Pascal. Both artists were to have a long and lasting influence and friendship with Arman: Klein was his son's godfather and with Pascal he co-founded the Nouveau Realisme movement. Between 1947-1953 concentrated on Zen Buddhism and astrology.
In Paris he studied at the École de Louvre and École Nationale des Art Decoratifs, where during an exhibition in 1954 he discovered the work of Kurt Schwitters, which led him to reject the lyrical abstraction of the period. Arman's willingness to embrace chance was indicated by his decision in 1958 to change his name in accordance with a printing error.
By the late 1950s he had moved away from traditional painting and sculpture in favour of the object and specifically of the ready-made, piling up identical salvaged things, modifying their meaning by repetition and giving the construction an ironic title. In response to Yves Klein's installation of an empty room, Arman exhibited Fullness, a gigantic accumulation of refuse that filled the same space from floor to ceiling, being an important example of Environmental Art.
He soon widened his vocabulary by choosing both to cut the objects into thin strips, revealing their internal structure. The objects used by Arman were extremely diverse, but they were always familiar things collected in considerable quantities. Among those he favoured were coffee grinders, painters' paraphernalia, and musical instruments.
From the mid-1960s Arman made numerous visits to New York, and took American citizenship in 1972. He was awarded numerous prizes and awards.
His work can be found in many collections: Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; Musée Royaux des Beaux-Arts, Brussels; Musée d'Art Moderne, Gent; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, Modern Art Museum, Munich; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Musée des Arts Decoratifs, Paris; Musée National d'Art Moderne, Paris; Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Tel Aviv; Museo Civico di Torino, Turin; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C.