72.2 x 52.2 x 12 cm
Waste basket contents, acrylic on wood, acrylic glass, steel
Collection Museum Haus Konstruktiv
Donated by Sammlung Rolf und Friedel Gutmann
Poubelle [Waste basket]
Arman (born 1928 in Nice, France, died 2005 in New York, USA) was one of the co-founders of the group Nouveaux Réalistes in 1960, of which Yves Klein was the key member. This group distanced themselves from the emotional tendencies in painting in the 1950s and instead promoted a return to a direct reference to reality. In order to make sure this was the case, they relied on everyday objects, which also later became an important inspiration for Pop Art. Some of the group’s actions – like Arman’s “Colères,” in which he destroyed objects in front of an audience – were precursors of the happenings and environments in the 1960s.
Arman’s career began not only in the classic medium of painting, but with a typo. Born Armand Pierre Fernandez, he had already decided to use only his first name as an artist in the early 1950s. However, when his name was incorrectly printed without the letter “d” on the invitation for his second solo exhibition in Paris in 1958, he made a virtue out of necessity and began using the shorter version as his new artist’s name. By chance, this change in name also coincided with a fundamental new direction in his work. After trying several experiments with stamps and imprints of objects from the mid-1950s on, Arman stopped making two-dimensional works in 1959 (and would not resume until late in his career) and instead began working on his “Accumulations” and “Poubelles,” for which he soon became famous. His “Accumulations” include a mass of identical or similar objects, such as light bulbs, telephone receivers, or gas masks, which are presented in a variety of containers. He has also realized large “Accumulations” for the public sphere – for example, the spectacular 18-meter tower made of 59 cars and concrete titled “Long Term Parking” (Jouy-en-Josas, France) from 1982.
The “Poubelles,” one of which is owned by the Museum Haus Konstruktiv, consist of garbage that Arman collected and presented – first in Plexiglas boxes, then later also cast in polyester. Several “Poubelles” are name after artist friends, thereby emphasizing the portrait character of each collection of garbage. Behind these two series of works is a critical reference to the (at the time) relatively new mass production of goods and the throw-away mentality that evolved alongside it. Arman’s self-declared title of “archeologist of the present” is thus well-founded.