April 5, 1996
Karen Gysin (612) 375-7651
WALKER ART CENTER EXHIBITION EXPLORES THE SECRET LIFE OF EVERYDAY THINGS|
SCULPTURE, PHOTOGRAPHY, FILM, VIDEO, AND INSTALLATION ART TRACE 15-YEAR CAREER OF SWISS ARTISTS FISCHLI AND WEISS
Since the late 1970s, Swiss artists Peter Fischli and David Weiss have participated in a collaborative art practice that engages the most humble of everyday objects in a display of spectacle and bravura. Their presentations of the commonplace, which take a wide variety of forms in sculpture, photography, film, video, and installation art, create a dialogue between opposites--order and chaos, work and play, the mundane and the sublime. The Walker Art Center-organized exhibition Peter Fischli and David Weiss: In a Restless World brings together key pieces from the artists' collaboration, tracing their highly entertaining and simultaneously disquieting body of work over the past 15 years. It will premiere in Minneapolis May 5-August 11, before traveling to Philadelphia, Columbus, San Francisco, Boston, and Wolfsburg, Germany.
Related programming planned in conjunction with the exhibition includes an opening-weekend lecture focusing on the qualities of play and leisurely adventure in the artists' work by Bice Curiger, editor-in-chief of Parkett magazine and adjunct curator at the Kunsthaus, Zürich (May 4); two evenings of eccentric, comedic avant-theater by the Warsaw troupe Akademia Ruchu (May 16 and 18); a film series inspired by the artists' work (May 7, 14, 21); and a Free First Saturday program (May 4).
The Walker's exhibition, curated by Elizabeth Armstrong, will give full play to the artists' concerns, presenting works from their earliest collaboration, the photographic series Wurstserie (Sausage Series), 1979, to a version of their most recent video installation from the 1995 Venice Biennale, an international exhibition of contemporary art in which the artists were chosen to represent Switzerland. The artists' preoccupation with the objects of everyday life--and their ironic manipulations of these objects--will connect the diverse bodies of work in this exhibition. Works selected include: Plötzlich diese Übersicht (Suddenly This Overview), 1981, a group of small sculptures made out of the preferred materials of young schoolchildren--unfired clay; Fragentopf (Question Pot), 1984, a monumental, simulated-ceramic pot that is filled with hand-scrawled questions, ranging from the utterly pedestrian to the most profound; and Stiller Nachmittag (Quiet Afternoon), 1984-1985, a series of photographs in which assemblages of banal objects teeter on the verge of collapse. These photographs were something of a dress rehearsal for Fischli and Weiss' acclaimed 1987 film, Der Lauf der Dinge (The Way Things Go), which will also be featured in the exhibition. In this dreamlike sequence of kinetic images, the artists concoct a secret life for such common objects as string, soap, Styrofoam cups, rubber tires, plastic pails, balloons, and mattresses, which, in combination with fire, gas, and gravity, set off a domino-like chain reaction that unfurls in a seemingly endless and mesmerizing progression of controlled chaos.
From Fischli and Weiss' work made in the 1990s, the exhibition will include their recent trompe l'oeil sculptures, many of which resemble the real objects used in the film The Way Things Go, installed as if they are part of the site. These sculptures reproduce the banal disarray of the workaday world--for instance, a custodian's closet or an artist's studio table--surprising visitors with an unexpected glimpse of the most mundane aspects of everyday working life in a museum. Among other works, two "moving images" will be shown: Le rayon vert (The Green Light), 1990, a kinetic sculpture made from the simplest of elements--a plastic cup that spins in a mixing bowl around a lighted flashlight casting patterns onto the wall--to create a mini-spectacle; and Kanal Video (Canal Video), 1992, a work that extends the idea of the readymade into the realm of videotape. This work transforms existing footage of the sewage pipes of Zürich into a hypnotizing voyage of color and light. Humble in its origins yet dazzling in its effects, this video epitomizes the way in which the artists' work continually straddles the line between the sublime and the mundane.
Finally, the exhibition will include a new version of the artists' acclaimed video installation for the 1995 Venice Biennale, a smorgasbord of videotapes that reflects their predilection for the inconspicuous wonders of everyday life. Subjects include the chef at work in their local restaurant, the annual motorcross races in Zürich, and workers from the local sanitation department. The images in the installation, which consists of 10 monitors running over 80 hours of videotape, have been described by Bice Curiger as "so inordinately ordinary that they are jarring, unsettling, and seem vaguely out of place."
Peter Fischli and David Weiss: In a Restless World will be accompanied by a 128-page illustrated catalogue, which includes a photographic section designed by the artists and essays by Armstrong and philosophers Arthur Danto and Boris Groys. D.A.P./ Distributed Art Publishers in New York will distribute the catalogue, which is the first comprehensive publication of the artists' work in English. It will be available in the Walker Art Center Shops. Softcover, $19.95 ($14.97 Walker members).
Following its presentation in Minneapolis, the exhibition will travel to the Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia (November 8, 1996-January 17, 1997); The Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, Ohio (February 8-April 13, 1997); the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (May 29-August 31, 1997); the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston (October 8, 1997-January 4, 1998); and the Kunstmuseum, Wolfsburg (February 7- May 3, 1998).
Support for Peter Fischli and David Weiss: In a Restless World is provided by PRO HELVETIA Arts Council of Switzerland, the National Endowment for the Arts, Lannan Foundation, and Samsung Electronics America, Inc. Major support for Walker Art Center programs is provided by the Minnesota State Arts Board through an appropriation by the Minnesota State Legislature, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Fund, The Bush Foundation, The McKnight Foundation, Target Stores, Dayton's, and Mervyn's by the Dayton Hudson Foundation, the Northwest Area Foundation, the General Mills Foundation, the Institute of Museum Services, Burnet Realty, the American Express Minnesota Philanthropic Program, the Honeywell Foundation, Northwest Airlines, Inc., The Regis Foundation, The St. Paul Companies, Inc., the 3M Foundation, and the members of the Walker Art Center.
Peter Fischli and David Weiss: In a Restless World
Performance: Zeitgeist, 11 am
Drop-In Art Activity: Serious Fun, 12 noon-4 pm
Film Program: Animated Everyday Stuff
Gallery Tour for Families: Fischli and Weiss, 12 noon, 1 pm, and 2 pm
Gallery Tour: Ordinary Objects in the Permanent Collection, 2 pm
Free First Saturdays are made possible by Burnet Realty. Saturday family programming is made possible by the Northwest Area Foundation, Dayton's, the Medtronic Foundation, the US WEST Foundation, and the National Council of Jewish Women, St. Paul Section.
Artwork of the Month
|The Walker Art Center is located one block off Highway I-94 at the corner of Lyndale Avenue South and Vineland Place in Minneapolis. For public information, call (612) 375-7622; TDD: 375-7585. Gallery hours: Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, 10 am - 5 pm; Thursday, 10 am - 8 pm; Sunday, 11 am - 5 pm; closed Monday; free Thursday and the first Saturday of each month. (Free First Saturdays are made possible by Burnet Realty.)|