Exhibition : October 1- November 9, 1997
About the work
Fischli / Weiss always produce works that have to do with life, with the lives of us all. At home, we all tend to store the vacuum cleaner and various other cleaning devices away in a cupboard. What are visible are books, pictures, pieces of furniture... Imagine a family that was just as proud of its cleaning and household appliances as it was of the other fittings in its apartment and put these on display for the guests along side everything else. What else could be a greater surprise and prompt greater displeasure. Yet these appliances are part of our everyday lives and, what is more, they represent work day-in, day-out, and we may have to struggle with ourselves to do the work. The result: both artists are genuinely interested in achieving an exemplary form of dehierarchization (as a metaphor).
We are all governed by the generative principle of order and disorder. Whoever speaks of disorder must have a notion of order and vice versa. Our subjective experience ensures that some sort of bearable balance is maintained. This balance is both different and similar from case to case. Dehierarchization as practiced by Fischli and Weiss for a good 12 years now creates the greatest possible disorder, in which, by virtue of their actions and work, they embed a conscious order.
Fischli and Weiss are simultaneously dreamers and pragmatists. The US painter Neil Jenney once said: «There are two sides to the artist's nature: he is a bookkeeper who ignores the details and a dreamer who spend days checking the figures».This is also true of Fischli and Weiss. Whoever lays claim to totality becomes either totalitarian or a poet. Fischli and Weiss are poets «par excellence». Their irony is never malicious or cynical, but rather a result of their activity: both distanced and so close to home.
Fischli and Weiss do not expose anything. They only put questions in the form of assertions. These are penetrating questions: quiet, subversive, general questions put with such precision that a fine balance is struck between our comfort and discomfort as observers.
Fischli and Weiss have succeded in transforming the generative principle of order and disorder into one of agreement and disagreement. They have succeded in putting the sham of the «taste of the big wide world» solidly back to earth by using precisely the means of that world of pretense. Yet they do so in such a way that we are not able to distance ourselves from it while recognizing it for the sham it is. Fischli and Weiss proceed from the point where distanciation is no longer possible because I - the observer - am bound up every day of the week in what it is describe: part of a dialectic, which expresses the simultaneity and equivalence of affirmation, questioning and rejection as the dilemma of our times.
Born - June 8th 1952 in Zürich Born - June 21st 1946 in Zürich
1975/76 Accademia di Bella Arti, Urbino
1976/77 Accademia di Bella Arti, Bologna
1979 Begining of his collaboration with David Weiss
Lives and works in Zürich
1963/64 Vorkurs, Kunstgewerbeschule Zürich
1964/65 Kunstgewerbeschule Basel, Bildhauerklasse
1979 Begining of his collaboration with Peter Fischli
Lives and works in Zürich
Born - June 8th 1952 in Zürich
Born - June 21st 1946 in Zürich
Text by Jean-Christophe Ammann. Extract - Full printed version available in the MMk - Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt am Main.
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