Critics’ Picks

View of “John Armleder: About Nothing. Works on Paper 1962–2007.”

View of “John Armleder: About Nothing. Works on Paper 1962–2007.”


John Armleder

South London Gallery
65 - 67 Peckham Road / 82 Peckham Road
February 2–April 15, 2007

Filling the great hall of the South London Gallery, the accumulation of more than four hundred of John Armleder’s drawings made over the past forty-five years forms an entirely new and enchanting environment. Curator Beatrix Ruf acknowledges the breadth of Armleder’s works on paper, pulling together designs as well as doodles, each a playful investigation of line, shape, color—or designer furniture. Armleder has densely packed Ruf's selection of pieces, running to the top of the high walls, that reveals the artist’s wide-ranging aesthetic and conceptual interests: large pieces of yellowing tracing paper marked with pale graphite circles, a blue rat pasted on a napkin from a Venetian cafe, forty colorful chair designs arranged across a single page, and almost everything that falls in between. This myriad envelops the viewer, forming a prismatic space that changes with each step or shift of gaze. Turquoise and amber wallpaper, depicting many of Vermont photographer Wilson Bentley’s studies of more than five thousand snowflakes, provides a backdrop for the framed images. The subtle variations between each of Bentley’s feathery ice crystals demonstrates that, like fingerprints, zebras’ stripes, and Armleder’s sketches, no two will ever be same.