Arman (Armand Pierre Fernandez; Nice, 1928 - New York, 2005). Thanks to his innovative approach, Arman is among the founding signatories and the major exponents of the Nouveau Réalisme. This is the movement which anticipated Pop Art and which gathered a group of artists under the common denominator of the «New perceptive approach to the real», as written in the original manifesto (1960). Re-elaborating the humanistic ideals in front of the contemporary industrial expansion, the Nouveaux Realistes gave up with the representative, virtual and symbolic illusionism in favour of a new physical, concrete, tangible discovery of reality. Pierre Restany, the theorist of the movement, defined Arman's art as «the language of the quantity», since it is characterized by the accumulation which results from taking an object, just as it is, from the surrounding environment and multiplying it. Arman elaborated like this an aesthetic beauty which only apparently has casual and always optimistic rhythms, aiming at exalting the poetic dimension of reality. Passionate about art, antiquity (his father was an antique dealer in Nice) and judo, after having realized for a short period a traditional type of painting, he started to search an autonomous expressive method, creating works like the Cachets, with "stamps" in paper obsessively repeated, the famous Accumulations of every day objects and the Poubelles, garbage, rubbish and wastes accumulated in a transparent container. Arman was the protagonist of an epochal exhibition: Le Plein at Galerie Iris Clert in Paris in 1960, in opposition to the previous show Le Vide by Yves Klein in the same venue.
From 1961, the year when he exhibited at The Art of Assemblage at M.O.M.A. in New York, Arman's international success began. Being an actor for one day, Arman appeared also in the documentary Dinner at Daley's realized by Andy Warhol about a performance by Daniel Spoerri.
His works enrich prestigious collections. Among them: Tate Modern in London, Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York, Centre Pompidou in Paris, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C.. He was dedicated important solo shows like, besides those already mentioned: Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota (1964); Museum Hans Lange, Krefeld, Germany (1965); Palais de Beaux-Arts, Brussels (1966); Modern Art Museum, Stockholm (1970); Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris (1975); Kuntsmuseum, Sammlung Sprengel, Hanover (1982); Museo Civico delle Belle Arti, Lugano (1984); Contemporary Sculpture Center, Tokyo (1990); The Brooklyn Museum, New York (1991); MIC - Museo Internazionale della Ceramica, Faenza (1994) in collaboration with Galleria d'Arte Maggiore g.a.m.; Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Israel (1999); in Brazil with the travelling exhibition at Museu de Arte Moderna do Rio de Janeiro, Museu de Arte de São Paulo Assis Chateaubriand (1999); National Museum of History, Taipei, Taiwan (2000). After his death, the retrospectives are several - at Centre Pompidou, Paris (2011); Museé Tinguely, Basel (2011); Barbican Center in London (2015) - as well as the group exhibitions: Fondazione Prada, Venice (2012 and 2014); Guggenheim Museum, New York (2014-2015). Germano Celant is editing a monograph about Arman.
Thanks to the close friendship between the artist and Franco Calarota, Galleria d'Arte Maggiore g.a.m. curated in 1994 a solo show of Arman at MIC - Museo Internazionale della Ceramica in Faenza where he realized monumental assemblage sculptures made of ceramic. Among the various works, he reproduced and assembled a full size FIAT 500 using ceramic with the work Piccin gari (1994). Other monumental pieces exhibited in the show are: Bielles coulées, an assemblage of car's engines in ceramic and Omaggio alla mamma realized with old sewing-machines. Quatre étage de conversation is homage to Italy and Sex- Appeal and Rondelles de belle are his reinterpretations in ceramic of the famous Venus. In 1999, with the collaboration of Imola City Council, Galleria d'Arte Maggiore g.a.m. commissioned to Arman a monument dedicated to Ferrari F40, Rampante (1999) at the entrance of racing circuit in Imola. Galleria d'Arte Maggiore g.a.m. has collaborated with loans of works to several solo shows dedicated to Arman. The most recent one is a Palazzo Cipolla in Rome, Fondazione Terzo Pilastro, curated by Germano Celant (2017).