Close
Close

EXHIBITIONS

Urs Fischer “Madame Fisscher” at Palazzo Grassi, Venice

Bringing together over 30 worksspread over 2,000 square metres, Urs Fischer’s monographic exhibition unfoldsthroughout the atrium and first floor of Palazzo Grassi. The works selected come from several international collections, including the artist’s own and, of course, that of the François Pinault Foundation. Together, they present the artist’s career from the late ‘90s to today, including new productions shown here for the first time as well as works created in collaboration with Georg Herold—one of Fischer’s former professors—and a sculptural project installed in the public space of the city, organized in collaboration with students from the Venice Academy of Fine Arts.

This exhibition presents an overview of the career and the philosophical foundations of an artist widely considered one of the most important contemporary sculptors. The unique quality of this artist’s work stems from the way in which he seizes ordinary objects (Fischer’s favourite working material) and transforms their meaning through the use of highly diverse techniques and materials, in an approach that often resembles that of collage.

Combining illusion and reality, violence and humour, eternity and the ephemeral, Urs Fischer’s universe is both logical and absurd. The artist attempts to capture an unstable equilibrium whose meaning is never definitively set. For instance, the exhibition’s title, “Madame Fisscher, ”is borrowed from the name of an installation, the first that the visitor will encounter in the museum. The game suggested by this title and its spelling participatesin this same logic of misappropriation: does it refer to the artist, to his companion, or to his mother? Or perhaps to Madame Tussaud and her famous wax museum? Eliciting simultaneously surprise, laughter, and doubt, the exhibition plays on a vast array of sensations.

The work Madame Fisscher sets the tone for the exhibition. It opens its doors onto a space, that of the studio that Fischer had kept in London, whose walls and contents, minutely reconstituted here, literally become sculptural. Within this space, the visitor can physically experience the artist’s creative process, which unfolds in stark contrast with Jeff Koons’ Balloon Dog. This dialogue with Koons’ sculpture (the quintessential “finished” work, also on display in the Palazzo’s atrium) puts into perspective Fischer’s own creative philosophy, in which the classical order of priorities is reversed, and the phase of conception is as important, if not more, as that of completion.

On the first floor, the scenography allows us to rediscover the structure and circulation of Palazzo Grassi at the time when it was still a private residence, thanks to the reopening by the artist of different passageways, notably those on the Grand Canal. This installation creates a central axis, which produces a mirroring effect: the works on display on each side of this axis echo one another. We have the deconstructed domestic object of In Dubio pro reo (2007) ; the game with the chairs (a favourite motif in Fischer’s oeuvre) in The Lock (2007) and A Thing Called Gear-6 box (2004) ; or finally, the recurrence of works that rely on motorized mechanisms, such as Nach Jugendstil kam Roccoko (2006), “Mr. Watson—come here—I want to see you.” (2005), Keep It Going Is a Private Thing (2001), and A Sigh Is the Sound of My Life (2000–01).

This resonance allows us to perceive an implicit movement. In fact, throughout his work Urs Fischer has always exalted movement. He is undoubtedly the great sculptor of suspended time. (Caroline Bourgeois)

at Palazzo Grassi, Venice

until July 15, 2012

Above – Urs Fischer, Madame Fisscher, 1999-2000. Hauser & Wirth Collection, Switzerland
Courtesy of the artist; Galerie Eva Presenhuber, Zurich; and Palazzo Grassi, Venice

Installation view, Urs Fischer, “Madame Fisscher,” Palazzo Grassi, Venice, 2012
© Urs Fischer. Courtesy of the artist and Palazzo Grassi, Venice

Urs Fischer, Cappillon, 2000. Hauser & Wirth Collection, Switzerland.
Courtesy of the artist; Galerie Eva Presenhuber, Zurich; and Palazzo Grassi, Venice

Installation view, Urs Fischer, “Madame Fisscher,” Palazzo Grassi, Venice, 2012
© Urs Fischer. Courtesy of the artist and Palazzo Grassi, Venice

Urs Fischer, Madame Fisscher, 1999-2000. Hauser & Wirth Collection, Switzerland
Courtesy of the artist; Galerie Eva Presenhuber, Zurich; and Palazzo Grassi, Venice

Installation view, Urs Fischer, “Madame Fisscher,” Palazzo Grassi, Venice, 2012
© Urs Fischer. Courtesy of the artist and Palazzo Grassi, Venice

All photos: Stefan Altenburger

Related Articles
EXHIBITIONS
Ariane Müller “AN” at Schiefe Zähne, Berlin
(Read more)
EXHIBITIONS
Leelee Chan, Kristin Walsh, Willa Wasserman and Coco Young “hysteresis” at Downs&Ross, New York
(Read more)
EXHIBITIONS
Eli Cortiñas, Débora Delmar, Nicolás Lamas “Weight of Abundance” at Zeller van Almsick, Vienna
(Read more)
EXHIBITIONS
Veronica Ryan “The Weather Inside” at Paula Cooper Gallery, New York
(Read more)
EXHIBITIONS
Ben Echeverria at Galerie Parisa Kind, Frankfurt
(Read more)
EXHIBITIONS
Amy O’Neill “THE ZOO REVOLUTION” at Paula Cooper Gallery, New York
(Read more)