Since his emergence in the late 1960s, Armleder has mined the tropes and approaches of modernist art, consistently bringing an irreverent edge to its traditional rules and distinctions. Here he explores conventions of abstraction—such as variations on geometric forms and illusions of positive and negative space—through the manipulation of ready-made typographic plates. In the traditional system of printing with movable type, revolutionized by Johannes Gutenberg’s printing press in 1450, individual pieces of type—letters, punctuation, and images—are lined up and secured together on a plate, which is then inked and printed onto a sheet of paper to make a book page or broadside. For these works, Armleder removed the type and manipulated the structures designed to keep the components aligned for printing. Eliminating any legible content, he has transformed what could have been an ordinary book page into an abstract composition based in lines and planes.
Gallery label from Abstract Generation: Now in Print, March 15–September 2, 2013.