Fischli & Weiss
Since the late 1970s the artists have consistently captivated and amused audiences with their extraordinary transformations of the commonplace. Fischli and Weiss work across a wide range of media and this exhibition presents their sculpture, installation, moving image and photography. Underlying all of their work is a childlike spirit of discovery which encourages the viewer to look afresh at their surroundings. In Fischli and Weiss’s world everyday objects take on an unexpectedly lifelike quality; they balance on each other, play off each other and collide into one another with a witty intelligence infused by the artists.
A4 Photocopy of Peter Fischli and David Weiss’s How to Work Better (1991) as photographed by the author in his studio.
© Photograph: Ryan Gander © the artists
The “Fischli/Weiss Practice” is a trajectory or a path that one could marvel at: swerving madly but not out of control, considered but swift, valiant and stealthy. The spectator can’t always easily follow this path, never quite being able to understand how one piece arrived directly after another.With the artists’ knowledge of how ideas evolve it would make sense, but for us the gaps are simply too great, filling each encounter with a new work with revelation. If I were to illustrate their diversity of practice and its consequence, among my examples would be Kitty (2001), The Right Way (1983) and Untitled – Two Identical Groups (1996). Their steps forward are on their own terms – terms only they can understand. I wish I had their ability to turn my hand to anything, ideas in front of me and nothing but art history behind. I am a fan.
From ‘The Sausage Photographs’, 10 photographs, exh. copies 240 x 360 mm. Copyright the artists.
Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, Clinton and Della Walker Acquisition Fund, 1993
Fischli & Weiss, from ‘Suddenly this Overview’, 60 sculptures, unfired clay, exh. copies. 60 x 70 x 50 mm and 820 x 830 x 50 mm. Courtesy the artists. Because the original sculptures are so fragile, the artists have decided to make replicas and several new sculptures in the spirit of “Suddenly this Overview” for the Tate exhibition. The majority of the sculptures from the original series are preserved in the Emanuel Hoffmann Foundation, on permanent loan to the Ã–ffentliche Kunstsammlung Basel.