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Urs Fischer

schmutz schmutz

April 5–May 26, 2012
Paris

Installation view © Urs Fischer. Photo: Stefan Altenburger

Installation view

© Urs Fischer. Photo: Stefan Altenburger

Works Exhibited

Urs Fischer, To be titled, 2012 Aluminum, epoxy primer, polyester filler, one-component acrylic putty, urethane primer, polyester paint, and acrylic polyurethane matte clearcoat, in 2 parts; water bottle: 12 ⅞ × 12 ⅞ × 19 ¼ inches (32.8 × 32.8 × 48.8 cm); bottle top: 4 ⅝ × 4 ⅝ × 4 ⅜ inches (11.7 × 11.7 × 11 cm), edition of 3© Urs Fischer. Photo: Stefan Altenburger

Urs Fischer, To be titled, 2012

Aluminum, epoxy primer, polyester filler, one-component acrylic putty, urethane primer, polyester paint, and acrylic polyurethane matte clearcoat, in 2 parts; water bottle: 12 ⅞ × 12 ⅞ × 19 ¼ inches (32.8 × 32.8 × 48.8 cm); bottle top: 4 ⅝ × 4 ⅝ × 4 ⅜ inches (11.7 × 11.7 × 11 cm), edition of 3
© Urs Fischer. Photo: Stefan Altenburger

Urs Fischer, Nail Duo, 2012 Galvanized cast bronze, cast bronze, washers, screws, wash primer, polyurethane filler, polyester filler, polyester putty, one-component fill primer, waterborne base coat, and polyurethane matte clearcoat, in 2 parts, left: 61 ¾ × 26 ⅜ × 23 ⅝ inches (157 × 67 × 60 cm), right: 76 ⅜ × 19 ¼ × 13 ⅜ inches (194 × 49 × 34 cm), edition of 3© Urs Fischer. Photo: Stefan Altenburger

Urs Fischer, Nail Duo, 2012

Galvanized cast bronze, cast bronze, washers, screws, wash primer, polyurethane filler, polyester filler, polyester putty, one-component fill primer, waterborne base coat, and polyurethane matte clearcoat, in 2 parts, left: 61 ¾ × 26 ⅜ × 23 ⅝ inches (157 × 67 × 60 cm), right: 76 ⅜ × 19 ¼ × 13 ⅜ inches (194 × 49 × 34 cm), edition of 3
© Urs Fischer. Photo: Stefan Altenburger

Urs Fischer, Café (38 parts), 2011–12 Acid-free foamcore, acrylic paint, silkscreen medium, painted poplar frame, and museum glass, dimensions variable, edition of 9© Urs Fischer. Photo: Stefan Altenburger

Urs Fischer, Café (38 parts), 2011–12

Acid-free foamcore, acrylic paint, silkscreen medium, painted poplar frame, and museum glass, dimensions variable, edition of 9
© Urs Fischer. Photo: Stefan Altenburger

Urs Fischer, To be titled, 2012 Galvanized bronze, bronze, two-component epoxy primer, polyester filler, two-component polyester body filler, urethane primer, polyester paint, and acrylic polyurethane matte clearcoat, 72 ⅝ × 37 × 15 ⅝ inches (184.5 × 94 × 39.7 cm), edition of 3© Urs Fischer. Photo: Stefan Altenburger

Urs Fischer, To be titled, 2012

Galvanized bronze, bronze, two-component epoxy primer, polyester filler, two-component polyester body filler, urethane primer, polyester paint, and acrylic polyurethane matte clearcoat, 72 ⅝ × 37 × 15 ⅝ inches (184.5 × 94 × 39.7 cm), edition of 3
© Urs Fischer. Photo: Stefan Altenburger

Urs Fischer, To be titled, 2012 Aluminum, carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic, stainless steel anchors, epoxy primer, polyester filler, one-component acrylic putty, urethane primer, polyester paint, and acrylic polyurethane matte clearcoat, in 2 parts, overall: 56 ¾ × 13 ⅞ × 61 inches (144.1 × 35.2 × 154.9 cm), edition of 3© Urs Fischer. Photo: Stefan Altenburger

Urs Fischer, To be titled, 2012

Aluminum, carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic, stainless steel anchors, epoxy primer, polyester filler, one-component acrylic putty, urethane primer, polyester paint, and acrylic polyurethane matte clearcoat, in 2 parts, overall: 56 ¾ × 13 ⅞ × 61 inches (144.1 × 35.2 × 154.9 cm), edition of 3
© Urs Fischer. Photo: Stefan Altenburger

Urs Fischer, To be titled, 2012 Nylon filament, apple, pear, and theater spotlight, dimensions variable© Urs Fischer. Photo: Stefan Altenburger

Urs Fischer, To be titled, 2012

Nylon filament, apple, pear, and theater spotlight, dimensions variable
© Urs Fischer. Photo: Stefan Altenburger

Urs Fischer, To be titled, 2012 Nylon filament, apple, pear, and theater spotlight, dimensions variable© Urs Fischer. Photo: Stefan Altenburger

Urs Fischer, To be titled, 2012

Nylon filament, apple, pear, and theater spotlight, dimensions variable
© Urs Fischer. Photo: Stefan Altenburger

Urs Fischer, To be titled, 2012 Nylon filament and fresh fruit, dimensions variable© Urs Fischer. Photo: Stefan Altenburger

Urs Fischer, To be titled, 2012

Nylon filament and fresh fruit, dimensions variable
© Urs Fischer. Photo: Stefan Altenburger

About

Gagosian Paris is pleased to present an exhibition of new sculpture by Urs Fischer.

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 problems to which he can provide solutions (or other problems), 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. Compacting the real with the mimetic, the thing with the view, 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 life, portraiture, the nude, landscape) at the intersection with everyday life—in cast sculptures and assemblages, paintings, digital montages, spatial installations, and mutating or kinetic objects—to create an alternate reality that is as sculptural as it is artificial. The German term schmutz means “dirt.” In Swiss German, Fischer’s native tongue, it also means “kiss.” Doubling the term creates a lewd image and an apt analogy for an exhibition that approaches the enduring “problems” of sculpture with an almost adolescent sense of erotic humor whose flipside is pure melancholy.

Firstly, Fischer works with the transformative potential of the cut, to diverse effect. A spindly penny farthing bicycle, slightly enlarged from life, has been sliced in two and splayed open, each half painted in an opposing pastel tone and balancing miraculously on its edge; a water bottle lying on its side, seems casually discarded were it not for the neat, perpendicular break at the neck, which also delineates the color shift from “ripe” to “unripe” tones of incongruous yellow.

A grouping of nails, cast in bronze with a dimly reflective surface and measuring the height of an average man, leans against the wall. Their long shadows, also cast in bronze but disguised in a delicate coat of mauve paint, run down the wall and across the floor, giving material form to an atmospheric phenomenon. Thirdly, Fischer employs real fruit as the medium for quasi-scientific postulations on time, scale, and infinity: an apple and a pear hang together in front of a spotlight, demonstrating an eclipse, while a larger taxonomy of organic matter, graded from largest (pineapple) to smallest (grape) and individually strung up to form an even line in mid-air, alludes to a larger planetary system. The fact of the fruit’s perishability further compounds the complexity of these light-handed yet profound sculptural meditations on mysteries that are as vast as they are imponderable.

Gagosian est heureuse d’annoncer une exposition de nouvelles sculptures d’Urs Fischer.

L’habilité déroutante de Fischer à imaginer et à produire des objets sur le point de s’effondrer ou ayant subi une transformation «psychique» a donné naissance à des sculptures aux matières d’une incroyable variété, allant de la cire jusqu’à l’utilisation de légumes avariés. Continuellement à la recherche de nouveaux enjeux en matière de sculpture auxquels il souhaite apporter une solution (ou y ajouter d’autres défis), il a construit des maisons avec du pain; a animé des espaces vides à l’aide d’objets mécaniques prêtant à la plaisanterie; a déconstruit des objets pour ensuite les dupliquer ; et en a transféré d’autres de la 3-D à la 2-D par l’utilisation de processus photographiques et vice et versa.

Condensant le réel et le mimétique, l’objet et son image, il réalise d’audacieuses associations formelles dont l’échelle, et le matériau témoignent d’un sens aigu de l’humour. Récemment, Fischer a exploré les genres chers à l’histoire de l’art classique (la nature morte, le portrait, le nu, le paysage) en les confrontant à la vie de tous les jours—à travers des sculptures et des moulages, des peintures, des montages numériques, des installations, et des objets cinétiques ou en mutation—afin de créer une réalité alternative autant sculpturale qu’artificielle.

Le terme allemand schmutz signifie «sale». En suisse-allemand, la langue maternelle de Fischer, cela signifie également «un bisou». La répétition du terme «schmutz» suggère une image obscène qui correspond à l’esprit de cette exposition qui évoque les «questions» éternelles de la sculpture avec un sens de l’humour presqu’adolescent et à la fois mélancolique.

Fischer travaille sur le potentiel de transformation de la coupe, et de ses divers résultats. Une frêle bicyclette, légèrement agrandie par rapport à sa taille réelle, coupée en deux et largement écartée, chaque moitié peinte dans des tonalités pastelles contrastées se balance miraculeusement sur ses extrémités ; une bouteille d’eau est allongée sur le sol, son goulot cassé nettement délimite deux tons de jaunes incongrus.

Un groupe de clous, coulés en bronze à la surface faiblement luisante et à taille humaine, repose contre le mur. Leurs ombres, également coulées dans le bronze, peintes en mauve, dégoulinent le long du mur et sur le sol, donnant ainsi une forme matérielle à un phénomène lumineux. Enfin, de véritables fruits sont utilisés en tant que médium et posent des postulats à visées scientifiques sur le temps, les échelles de taille et l’infini : une pomme et une poire suspendues ensemble devant une source de lumière, simulant une éclipse ; des fruits aux aspects divers, classés du plus grand (l’ananas) au plus petit (le raisin) individuellement suspendus pour former une ligne régulière symbolisent un système planétaire plus vaste. Le processus de pourriture des fruits intensifie la complexité de cette installation à la fois légère mais profonde, portant sur des mystères aussi immenses qu’impondérables.

Installation view, Crushed, Cast, Constructed: Sculpture by John Chamberlain, Urs Fischer, and Charles Ray, Gagosian, Grosvenor Hill, London, June 15–July 31, 2020

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.

Installation view, Urs Fischer: The Lyrical and the Prosaic, Aïshti Foundation, Beirut, October 20, 2019–October 31, 2020.

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.

Urs Fischer, A–Z, 2019, a sculpture of a pear and an apple.

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

Shortlist
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.

Installation video of Urs Fischer's exhibition, Leo. A painting of an eye and a sculpture of three humans.

Urs Fischer: Leo

Journalist and curator Judith Benhamou-Huet leads a tour of the exhibition Urs Fischer: Leo at Gagosian, Paris.

Installation view, Urs Fischer: PLAY with choreography by Madeline Hollander, Gagosian, West 21st Street, New York, September 6–October 13, 2018.

Play

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.

News

Photo: Chad Moore

Artist Spotlight

Urs Fischer

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