John Armleder. Title page from Supernova. 2003

John Armleder Title page from Supernova 2003

  • Not on view

Described by Armleder as an "instant exhibition," Supernova encapsulates the artist's irreverent, antiformalist approach to artmaking. The twenty prints that compose the work are meant to be hung at the discretion of the person installing them rather than by guidelines prescribed by the artist, and so the owner of the work becomes an active agent in the project's meaning. In fact, the prints can be hung in any orientation (vertically, horizontally, diagonally) and the group in any configuration—either in its entirety or in smaller groupings. This freedom underscores Armleder’s philosophy that a work of art has a life of its own, beyond the signature of its creator.

Armleder plays with the notion of discrete modern art movements by appropriating various styles—here fusing the allover spontaneity of Abstract Expressionism with the tight control of Op art patterning. To create the lithographs, Armleder recombined the same lithographic stones from print to print, varying their orientation, layering, and coloration, creating both harmony and cacophony. This vigorous experimentation is emphasized by the title of the portfolio—_Supernova_—which refers to the type of violently exploding star that, according to the Big Bang theory, was the genesis of the universe.

Publication excerpt from The Museum of Modern Art, MoMA Highlights since 1980, New York: The Museum of Modern Art , p. 233.
Lithograph from a portfolio of nineteen lithographs and one monotype
composition: 21 1/2 x 30 3/16" (54.6 x 76.7 cm); sheet: 22 1/8 x 30 3/16" (56.2 x 76.7 cm)
Edition Copenhagen, Copenhagen, World House Editions, South Orange, New Jersey
Edition Copenhagen, Copenhagen
General Print Fund
Object number
© 2021 John Armleder
Drawings and Prints

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