Armand Pierre Fernandez was born in Nice on November 17, 1928. After receiving his bachelor's degree in philosophy and mathematics, in 1946 he enrolled in the École National des Arts Décoratif in Nice before moving to Paris in 1949 to study archaeology and oriental art at the École du Louvre. In 1953 he returned to Nice and started producing abstract work and collaborating with Yves Klein. The following year Fernandez was impressed by the work of Kurt Schwitters, who was exhibiting in Paris, and went on to create his first series of Cachets, made with rubber stamps. They were shown at his debut solo exhibition at the Galerie du Haut-Pavé, Paris, in 1956. In 1958 a misprint on the cover of a catalogue convinced him to drop the letter “d” from his name. That same year he produced his Allures d’objets, which were imprints on paper of objects that had been dipped in oil paint. In 1959 he made his first sculptures. The first series, Accumulations, comprised assemblages of identical everyday objects; the second, Poubelles, featured waste material displayed in transparent containers.

In 1960 he signed the Nouveau Réalisme Manifesto and later took part in the group’s events. The following year he visited New York for the first time, held a solo exhibiton at the Cordier-Warren Gallery, and participated in the The Art of Assemblage exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art. He produced a number of different sculpture series throughout the 1960s, including Coupes (sawn and sliced objects), Colères (broken or damaged objects), Combustions (burnt objects), and Inclusioni, (assemblages of objects submerged in transparent polyester resin). During this time, he exhibited at the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, in 1964, and at the 1968 Venice Biennale.

In the 1970s he created assemblages of concrete and car parts, which were supplied by car company Renault. In the following twenty years he worked with different media and employed a wide range of techinques. The artist received major public commissions, such as the bronze monument A la République (1984) for Paris’s Palais de l’Elysée, and the monumental Espoir de Paix (1995) in Beirut, an assemblage of cement and tanks. Toward the end of the 1990s, Arman’s artistic practice took a somewhat radical turn, resulting in the production of large-scale etchings and drawings and collaborations with poets and writers. He was the subject of several exhibitions. Arman died in New York on October 22, 2005.