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 sculptures, paintings, photographs, and large-scale installations explore themes of perception and representation while maintaining a witty irreverence and mordant humor.
I’ve been isolating with my family in Los Angeles. It’s great, but at times I envy people without children during the lockdown. I’ve been reading when I can, and I’ve realized that I turn to different books for different needs—sometimes to escape, and at other times it feels comforting to read something that illustrates one’s darkest moods. Turning to the past can provide solace and put time into perspective.
Footprints: In Search of Future Fossils
by David Farrier
It’s difficult to grasp the unbelievably short timeframe in which humans have made a deep mark on this planet in relation to everything that occurred before we arrived. We are story driven. That makes us intelligent and absolutely incapable of understanding any broader context at the same time. If you think about it, we eat stuff that we would not even feed to our pets. The amount of stuff we consume or need on a daily basis is insane.
The Terminal Beach
by J.G. Ballard
Ballard’s short stories, whose protagonists mostly struggle to embrace a violently changed world, were good company at the beginning of this new lockdown reality as I tried to make sense of what is taking place.
A Month in Siena
by Hisham Matar
A very inviting journey into art, a viewer’s mind, and how each makes the other into more than the sum of its parts. Matar’s book, about his monthlong trip to Siena, where he immersed himself in paintings that had fascinated him since his late teens—and about how they are intertwined with his own life history—left me marveling about our love for art.
Mouthful of Birds
by Samanta Schweblin
The Argentinian novelist’s short stories say the unsayable. The strong, visceral imagery is so powerful; each story resonates with me as if it were my own dreams. As a visual artist, I’m envious of the immaterial nature of good stories, the images that they create in one’s mind.
All Gall Is Divided
by E. M. Cioran
The Romanian-French philosopher Emil Cioran makes for a good quarantine companion. I’ve been dipping into his collections of aphorisms for many years. His writings make my own agony feel like a happy place.