* 1928 Nizza
† 2005 New York
The French artist Arman (actually Armand Fernandez) is born in Nice on November 17, 1928. Arman gets to know Yves Klein who is also born in Nice in 1947, together with Claude Pascal they go on a journey through Europe. Afterwards Arman goes to Paris where he attends the École des Arts Décoratifs, changing to the École du Louvre in 1949. Encountering the works of the German Dadaist Kurthas a decisive impact on Arman's own artistic career. Another important acquaintance is the art critic Pierre Restany, who is to become the theoretician of Nouveau Réalisme as of 1951.
Arman belongs to the main representatives of Nouveau Réalisme. Besides Arman, other members of this movement that picks up ideas of Dadism and is therefore called Neodadaism, are Yves Klein, Jean Tinguely, Niki de Saint Phalle, François Dufrêne, Raymond Hains, Daniel Spoerri, César, Christo etc. Real objects of everyday use are declared to be "Ready-mades", found items and waste are made into assemblages, accumulations and collages.
Because of his misprinted name on an invitation card for an exhibition in 1958, the character "d" at the end of his name was missing, his artist name "Arman" was born.
His first one-man show with paintings and "Stamp Pictures" (Cachets) takes place at the Galerie du Haut-Pavé in 1956. Arman turns away from conventional painting as of 1959 and starts using objects for his pictures called "allures d'objets" that he dies and brings onto paper or canvas by tossing them against the image carrier. He begins making his first "Poubelles" as of 1959, for which he collects the content of waste baskets that arranges in Plexiglas boxes. Numerous Neodadaist experiments follow, such as the "Accumulations" (accumulations of the same everyday object, such as buttons, watches etc.), the "Coupes" (cut objects), the "Colères" (events in which objects are smashed, trampled or torn) or the "Combustions" (burnt or exploded objects), that are made as of 1963. He does his first "Inclusions" around 1966, covering empty color tubes and other objects with polyester, as of 1970 he uses concrete instead.
The repeated use of one and the same object is a characteristic feature of Arman's art. All of his actions and events have a notion of criticizing the social phenomenon of mass consumption and the art industry.
He turns to painting again as of 1988, applying the color to the canvas with broad brushes in gestural verve, also including elements of Nouveau Réalisme.
The artist alternately lives in France and the USA. He becomes an American citizen in 1972, and dies in New York City in 2005.