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John Armleder

(Swiss, b.1948)

Spirale Blanche

Portfolio of 10 color lithographs
Edition of 40
Each signed, dated, numbered and inscribed on the reverse
Each sheet: 30 x 22 inches (76 x 56 cm)

Price on request

Executed in 2008, the title of this work is taken from the sixth disk (back) No.12 Rotorelief executed by Marcel Duchamp.

Lithographs printed in colors from stone, the complete portfolio of 10, all fine, fresh impressions of the only known states, the full sheets, printed on 250gsm cream white wove Velin d’Arches paper, nearly to the edges, each sheet signed, dated numbered and inscribed in pencil on the reverse, executed in an edition of 40 examples (there were also III artist proof portfolios, IV printers proof portfolios 1 proof portfolio inscribed “Cabinet des Estampes” and 1 proof portfolio inscribed “Archive”) printed by the artist with the assistance of Rasmus Urwald, published by World House Editions, Middlebury, Connecticut and Edition Copenhagen, Copenhagen, in fine condition, contained in a hand-made linen-covered case with justification/colophon page.

The Rotoreliefs reveal Marcel Duchamp’s taste for mass production on a modest scale, if you will.  They were printed inexpensively in a large edition and were first presented to the public at an inventor’s fair in Paris in 1935.  When viewed (preferably with one eye closed) at a rotating speed of 40-60rpm, the disks present an optical illusion of depth and in a few cases, of three-dimensionality.

In the case of the present work, John Armleder pays homage to Marcel Duchamp and the spinning Rotorelief in the form of his dynamic abstract compositions printed by stone lithography.  By exploiting some basic conceptual printmaking techniques – repetition, reversal, shifting the stone – the artist has created prints that not only explore Op art, but the gestural strokes and marks of Abstract Expressionism.   The diversity of the artists’ thinking and cleverness is very much on display in Spirale Blanche, as upon close and careful inspection, the imagery appears representational, in the form of fish.  Armleder went to a local fishery in Copenhagen and bought a variety of fish – herring, squid, octopus, whitefish – and arranged them on the lithograph stones, allowing the oil from the fish to seep into the stone, which were then prepared for printing.   By shifting stones off register, changing the orientation of others and heavily layering the colors, Armleder has pushed the boundaries of the print process technically while conceptually poking fun at the tenets of Modern Art.



Le Locle, Switzerland, Musée des beaux-arts, 7th Triennale de l’art imprimé contemporain, 26 September 2010 – 13 February 2011

New York, International Print Center New York, Emerging Images: The Creative Process in Prints, 16 September – 17 October 2010 (curated by Wendy Weitman)

New York, Phillips de Pury, Emerging Images: The Creative Process in Prints, 16 – 24 November 2010 (curated by Wendy Weitman)



The artist has not designated an orientation for each of the prints so they may be installed according to the particular space or desire of the owner.