20 March - 13 May 2017
Gagosian Gallery, Hong Kong
As an artist you compete with reality, and the order of reality is always more interesting than the order you can make. But, because you make the order, it becomes information.
Gagosian is pleased to present new works by Urs Fischer. This is his first solo exhibition in Asia.
Fischer reinvests traditional art historical genres (still life, portraits, nudes, landscapes, and interiors) with an abundance of rich and surprising forms. In his cast sculptures and assemblages, paintings, digital montages, spatial installations, kinetic objects, and texts, he ceaselessly mines the intersection where art meets everyday life. He has built houses out of bread, enlivened empty space with mechanistic jokes, deconstructed objects and then replicated them, and transferred other objects from three dimensions to two and back again via photographic processes. His daring formal adventures in space, scale, and material also reveal a mordant sense of humor.
For the title of this exhibition, Fischer provides a musical staff, with a treble clef and several notes positioned along four—rather than the customary five—lines. The notation implies music, but with no apparent tune; it is a title, yet it is inexpressible. Such paradoxes course through Fischer's oeuvre. In his Problem Paintings from 2011, he obstructed vintage publicity headshots with silkscreened images of ordinary objects such as a bolt or a banana. The current exhibition continues this perception-altering pursuit; it comprises eleven large-scale tableaux made up of found images, expressive gestures, and photographs of the artist’s personal spaces. But these pictures are neither paintings nor photographs, neither abstract nor representational. By digitally manipulating photographs of brushstrokes, Fischer forges gestural streaks by inserting and blurring images of television screens, faces, and more. The brushstrokes are silkscreened over “homescapes” and “studioscapes” (domestic and atelier views) that provide glimpses of works in progress, art materials, furniture, and artworks from Fischer’s own collection.
Aluminum panel, aramid honeycomb, two-component polyurethane adhesive, two-component epoxy primer, galvanized steel rivet nuts, acrylic primer, gesso, acrylic ink, acrylic silkscreen medium, acrylic paint, and oil medium
96 × 120 inches (243.8 × 304.8 cm)
© Urs Fischer
Photo by Mats Nordman
In Foamcore (2017), silkscreen test prints and works by Fischer and others are propped against a studio wall. Purple blots and smears of television static interrupt perspectival logic, making it difficult to tell whether the brushstrokes are on the surface of the painting or on the stacked works in the room. By destabilizing the pictorial conventions of foreground and background, Fischer also plays into a long art-historical tradition of paintings within paintings, from the nautical scenes and maps on the walls of Vermeer's interiors, to Velázquez's grand enigma Las Meninas, to Matisse’s pictographic Red Studio. Undermining the assumed conventions of painting and photography, Fischer's cunningly generated visual strata act as unstable and irresoluble meditations on the act of looking.
Urs Fischer was born in Zurich in 1973, and lives and works in New York. Collections include Museum of Modern Art, New York; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Vanhaerents Art Collection, Brussels; FRAC-Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur, Marseille; Fondation Carmignac, Paris; Kunstmuseum Basel; Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst, Zurich; and Museo d'arte della Svizzera Italiana, Lugano, Switzerland. Exhibitions include the 50th Biennale di Venezia (2003); “Kir Royal,” Kunsthaus Zurich (2004); “Not My House Not My Fire,” Espace 315, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris (2004); “Mary Poppins,” Blaffer Gallery, Art Museum of the University of Houston, TX (2006); the 52nd Biennale di Venezia (2007); “Marguerite de Ponty,” New Museum, New York (2009–10); the 54th Biennale di Venezia (2011); “Skinny Sunrise,” Kunsthalle Wien (2012); “Madame Fisscher,” Palazzo Grassi, Venice (2012); Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (2013); “YES,” DESTE Foundation Project Space, Slaughterhouse, Hydra, Greece (2013); “∞” The Modern Institute, Glasgow (2015); “Small Axe,” Garage Museum of Contemporary Art, Moscow (2016); and “Mon cher...,” Fondation Vincent Van Gogh, Arles (2016).
This April, Fischer’s work will be installed alongside sculptures by Auguste Rodin at the Legion of Honor in San Francisco. The exhibition is a part of the Rodin Dialogues, a series of installations to coincide with the centenary of Rodin’s death in 1917.