Gagosian is pleased to present a major exhibition of new work by Urs Fischer, his first exhibition with the gallery.
Fischer’s uncanny ability to envisage and produce objects on the brink of falling apart or undergoing psychic transformation has resulted in sculptures in a bewildering variety of materials, including unstable substances such as melting wax and rotting vegetables. Continuously searching for new sculptural solutions, he has built houses out of bread; enlivened empty space with mechanistic jokes; deconstructed objects and then replicated them; and transferred others from three dimensions to two and back again via photographic processes. He combines daring formal adventures in space, scale, and material with a mordant sense of humor.
In recent times, Fischer has been exploring the genres of classical art history (still lifes, portraits, nudes, landscapes, and interiors) at the intersection with everyday life—in cast sculptures and assemblages, paintings, digital montages, spatial installations, mutating or kinetic objects, and texts. As its title suggests, the principal elements of this exhibition are two bed sculptures, and a series of huge paintings on aluminum panels. The bed sculptures—signals of an alternate surrealist world—appear to buckle under the pressure of some invisible force. One bed, cast in aluminum but disguised in a layer of mimetic paint, is made even more credible by the pile of real concrete that has been poured on top of it, as if to hasten its collapse; the other, a total wreck that is actually the result of an intricate multiple casting process, has been painted over with a gradient of color “distilled” from a landscape photograph. Around the walls, the paintings—vintage publicity headshots, colored and enlarged to a monumental scale, then obstructed by silkscreened images such as a bolt or a banana—present a clash of representational systems that is both convulsive and darkly humorous. In another part of the gallery, a table, also a perfect replica of a real object, vibrates almost imperceptibly.
A further proposition in Fischer’s pursuit of altering perception using the stuff of reality is a series of diminutive mirrored chrome-steel sculptures that recall the impactful installation Service à la Française (2009), a Pop Minimalist marvel of perceptual play where viewers could walk through a “cityscape” of mirrored boxes. Here highly detailed, composite color photographs of objects including a ping-pong paddle, asparagus stalk, calculator, and stress ball, all slightly enlarged from life, have been silkscreened onto the five mirrored planes (four sides and top) of each box. At once immaterial and hyperreal, these “perfect vehicles” provide a series of reflective grounds on which ideas about optics, exaggeration, and entropy converge.
Uncanny Delights: Sculpture by John Chamberlain, Urs Fischer, and Charles Ray
Catalyzed by the exhibition Crushed, Cast, Constructed: Sculpture by John Chamberlain, Urs Fischer, and Charles Ray, Alice Godwin examines the legacy and development of a Surrealist ethos in selected works from three contemporary sculptors.
Urs Fischer: Lives of Forms
In his introduction to the catalogue for Urs Fischer’s exhibition The Lyrical and the Prosaic, at the Aïshti Foundation in Beirut, curator Massimiliano Gioni traces the material and conceptual tensions that reverberate throughout the artist’s paintings, sculptures, installations, and interventions.
Fruit and Vegetables: Francesco Bonami on Urs Fischer
Fruit and vegetables are a recurring motif in Urs Fischer’s visual vocabulary, introducing the dimension of time while elaborating on the art historical tradition of the vanitas. Here, curator Francesco Bonami traces this thread through the artist’s sculptures and paintings of the past two decades.
Five Books: Urs Fischer
Urs Fischer talks about reading during the pandemic lockdown, sharing five books—both fiction and nonfiction—that he has turned to while in self-isolation.
Urs Fischer: Leo
Journalist and curator Judith Benhamou-Huet leads a tour of the exhibition Urs Fischer: Leo at Gagosian, Paris.
Urs Fischer and choreographer Madeline Hollander speak with novelist Natasha Stagg about the ways in which choreographic experimentation and an interest in our ability to project emotion onto objects led to the one-of-a-kind project PLAY.
June 24–30, 2020
Urs Fischer mines the potential of materials—from clay, steel, and paint to bread, dirt, and produce—to create works that disorient and bewilder. Through scale distortions, illusion, and the juxtaposition of common objects, his paintings, sculptures, photographs, and large-scale installations explore themes of perception and representation while maintaining a witty irreverence and mordant humor.
Photo: Chad Moore
Extended through December 15, 2018
September 12–December 15, 2018
Davies Street, London