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Armando

Amsterdam -

Amsterdam 1929

Armando was born as Herman Dirk van Dodeweerd in Amsterdam on the 18th of September, 1929. He works as a painter, sculptor, writer and musician. Armando was not a member of the CoBrA movement. When he began to draw and paint in Amsterdam in 1950 and painting he caused a sensation with his extremely spontaneous works, that because of the powerful expressionist looks had a resemblance with the works of the Cobra artists of that period, and the early works of the Dutch artist Piet Ouborg ( 1893-1956). The first work that Armando officially publicly displayed in 1953, to be judged for the Willink van Collen Price, consisted out of no more than jagged lines of black bicycle paint brushed on a white canvas. This painting made a big impression on the Dutch painter Willy Boers (1905-1978), who immediately invited Armando to become a member of his abstract art group ‘creation’. Armando created a sensation because his work was different from any existing artistic category and he drew in an unusual way. When a colleague asked him how he began drawing, Armando replied: “just, blindfolded in the dark.” Despite his spontaneous process, there was a remarkable difference of content relation with CoBrA. Armando implemented with sparse broad pencil lines no representation of a myth, folk art or mythical animals, but as he put it, “a comprehensive experience of the here-and-now.” The hand with which he set lines groping and searching on paper was as it were, the seismograph of emotional personal experiences from the war. In 1959 Armando started as an informal artist to react fiercely against Cobra and in particular against the figuration and expressionism of the personal drama in it. Together with a number of radical anti-art companions he founded in 1959 the ‘Informal Group’ from which most members later on joined the Dutch ‘Nul groep’ (Zero group) in 1960. The zero artists, proclaimed through Armando so to speak, that a painting could be missed like a toothache. At a certain point, he became tired of everything that had to do with art, with as result that Armando stopped for several years with creating art. When he “converted” himself in the early 70’s, by embracing art again, including expressionism, he crafted an impressive oeuvre. In his later abstract-expressionistic development, Armando was unable to extricate himself entirely from the influences of Cobra. Apparently, he needed the spontaneous expressions again for a pure representation of his vital artistry. Armando took part in all exhibitions of ‘Creation’ in 1953 and 1954. From that time on he had numerous solo and group exhibitions in his homeland and abroad.

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