Collecting like Arman

25 January 2013

The artworks of French artist Arman consisted of collections of objects, and repetitive groupings of objects, often deconstructed, rearranged, welded together, cast in bronze or sank into Perspex or concrete. He also created a manifesto to go with his artworks in 1961, titled The Realism of Accumulations in which he described his methods. But less well known is that this feverish accumulation and rearranging of all sorts of objects went beyond his artwork: it also found its reflection in his two homes. Both his home in a former Manhattan pickle factory, and his home in Vence, France are sights to behold.

One can clearly see his love for collecting, in the many different objects he collected; from antique African art, ancient Chinese bronzes and Japanese Samurai armours to old 1940’s radio’s and teapots. At one time he had 17 different collections going at once. Some of the collections are carefully displayed in the house, others are hidden to the public. The ones on display stand proudly between furniture created from old violin cases, by Arman, sets of portraits of Arman and his wife Corice made by their friend Andy Warhol (hers colourful, his in unusual black and white tones), a Max Ernst screen, and a vast array of Arman artworks.

Armand’s home in Vance boasts large-scale works like Piano Garden, a large collection of piano’s in various stages of disarray, accumulated in a garden-like setting; Bidonville, an accumulation of washing-machine drums, stacked to create a cave-like structure; Par Suite d’encombrement, another cave-like structure created with old telephones. A maquette of the house is on display at the Nice museum of modern and contemporary art (MAMAC).

At Famous chupa-chups-salvador-dali you can purchase several multiples by Arman, among which two different versions of the wonderful Chupa Chups. Real Chupa Chups lollypops cast in plexiglass, in an edition of 50. The pieces have small plaques embedded into them which have the artist’s autograph and the number in the edition. Fun to know: the logo of the Chupa Chups lollypops was designed by fellow artist Salvador Dalí in 1969.

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