John Armleder (born 1948 in Geneva, Switzerland) is a Swiss performance artist, painter, sculptor, and curator. A member of the Geneva-based Groupe Luc Bois and co-founder of publishing house Groupe Ecart (1969), Armleder was a student of the Fluxus Movement of the 60s and 70s. He is known for his resistance to classification, rejecting the idea that he can be easily pigeonholed into any narrow artistic practice. This has resulted in a… Read more
About the artwork
Armleder's gold mosaic, Popoxcomitl is rich in symbolic and cultural resonance. Gold, the noblest of metals, has connotations of wealth, luxury, and privilege. Coveted by all cultures, it is doused in the blood of pre-Hispanic tribes who were brutalized at the hands of the avaricious Spanish Conquistadors. The title of the work is an allusion to the culture of the indigenous people of the Americas, the term "popoxcomitl" referring to a ceremonial incense burner used in their traditional folk medicine. This relic from ancient times hints at the darker aspect of this precious metal and the atrocities perpetrated in its appropriation, revealing a moral agenda behind the work's glittering surface of gold.