We could call it the golden decade. The twelve works presented here were created between 1961 and 1970, ten years during which Arman contributed actively to one of the most remarkable artistic adventures of the century, the New Realism (nouveau réalisme), and developed processes that made his creations into his own personal adventure.
In 1960, Arman exhibited with Jacques Villeglé, Jean Tinguely and Raymond Hains at the Galleria Apollinaire in Milan. Pierre Restany, the theorist of the group, writes: "We are moving towards the new realism of pure sensitivity. Man, if he manages to reintegrate into reality, identifies it with his own transcendence, which still is emotion, feeling, and, ultimately, poetry”. A few months later, the same artists, along with Yves Klein, François Dufrene, Martial Raysse, and Daniel Spoerri, signed, in Paris, the manifesto of the New Realists. The impulse was given. For Arman, it stopped only with his death.
At the time, like other members of the group, Arman could not make a living as an artist; he was sustaining himself with small jobs. But it is the production of artworks which keeps him busy. Inventions and discoveries are linked together. Abandoning the painting itself, the artist launches his Cachets, made of imprints of tampons repeated at will. Then come the Allures, color impressions of some object trace on a support. A turn was taken. Moving from the object used as a tool (Allure) to the object considered as a work of art, Arman gives birth to accumulations which constitute, in the words of Bernard Lamarche-Vadel, the backbone of the artist's approach. Exhibited in New York in 1961, these accumulations influenced a young Andy Warhol, a year before he exhibited himself his famous Campbell's Soup. It is also worth mentioning the Colères (destroyed objects) and the Poubelles , typical productions of the artist.
With the accumulations Arman, encouraged by the experiences of his predecessors (dadaists, and ready made, artworks by Marcel Duchamp), holds the emergence of a new perspective on the urban and industrial society, its production and waste.
The déchets (waste) therefore constitute the Bacille (1961), an accumulation of used films reels and Sans titre of 1963 (rusted screws). Modern industrial production is a primary objective for Arman for example in the accumulated electric coils (Sans titre 1961), the aluminum disks (Clinibare EDF, 1962) the valves of oxygen tanks (Oxygénation, 1964), moreover he plays with the colors of the fuses electrical (Sans titre, 1964) and with electrical components (Cloud Burst, 1968).
The car being the industrial object par excellence, in 1967 Arman concluded an agreement with Renault, that provided the artist with spare parts and raw materials for the famous Renault Accumulations that two years later was exhibited in Berlin (Kunshalle), Amsterdam (Stedelijk Museum), and Paris (Museum of Decorative Arts).
Among these works we can find our accumulation of electric wires, maliciously entitled Spaghetti sauce Renault.
Even if the Accumulations are mass-produced objects, Arman's Colères concern "noble" objects, and more often on musical instruments. Sans titre (1962) shows a violently broken guitar by the artist. The gesture is more surgical in the Colère de violons (1970), the instruments have been carefully cut before being presented. With the Accumulation de téléphones (1969) and Violons éclatés, apparently between colère and accumulation, the destructive violence is followed by a highly studied staging.
Effectively, recognition arrived in these fruitful years, in Europe as in the United States, where Arman spent part of the year. In 1964, the artist organized his two first solo exhibitions at the Minneapolis Walker Art Center and the Stedelijk Museum. During the same year, he received the Second Prize at the Tokyo Biennial and, in 1966, the Marzotto Grand Prix. The consecration came with in 1968 the participation in two among the most significant artistic events: the Venice Biennal and the Dokumenta of Kassel. The artworks presented there witness the emergence and affirmation of an artist who is now considered one of the greatest of his century.
ARMAN, Armand Pierre Fernandez dit, (Nice 1925 - 2005 New York)