Fischli/Weiss’ moniker for this year’s 840-page Ringier Annual Report, a rather hefty tome by any measure, is Sun, Moon and Stars. The title evokes nursery rhymes as well as the universe as a focus for our longing and desire to escape. In short, following their works dealing with the worldly, Sun, Moon and Stars is about what holds our world together. The encyclopedic element in all Fischli/Weiss pieces is just as evident in this Annual Report which is best described as an encyclopedia, obtained from hundreds of magazines, of the temptations and yearnings that mark contemporary life. The artists clearly consider print ads the most powerful embodiment of the economic principle and show their fascination with the never-ending flood of products in our lives that shape our very identities. They paired up 800 different ads and put them in an order that allows many interpretations – but tells no story.
About the Artists
Swiss artists Peter Fischli, 55, and David Weiss, 61, creators of a wide-ranging oeuvre using photography, sculpture, installation and film as media, are important members of the international art world. Working as a team since 1979, their works frequently appear in the world’s most prestigious institutions and collections, from New York’s Guggenheim Museum and MoMA to the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, Basel’s Kunstmuseum, Museum Ludwig in Cologne and others. Their Flowers & Questions retrospective has been on tour since 2007, beginning at the Tate Modern, the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris and Zurich’s Kunsthaus, is currently showing at Fondazione Nicola Trussardi in Milan, to go on to Deichtorhallen in Hamburg.
The two artists’ works deal with aspects of our daily lives, what we feel and do during and off work, life in the suburbs, travel, beauty, horror and fear, events big and small, the favorite destinations of the common man. And how little our everyday lives and desires change, no matter how much we fight them. By examining the common sense that governs our plans and living conditions – similar no matter where we live – the artists reveal human frailties in understated fashion and with a slight wink, while poking fun at the pretensions rife in today’s art world.
Fischli/Weiss toy with food (Sausage Series, 1979), build fragile sculptures from kitchen utensils (Equilibres – Quiet Afternoon, 1984-87), shoot self-portraits against sites around the world (Visible World, 1987-2000), ask profound questions while traveling the globe wearing rat and bear costumes, (The Least Resistance, 1980-81; The Right Way, 1982-83), commission polyurethane carvings of various objects (Polyurethane Sculptures, from 1983), and in Suddenly an Overview, depict in raw clay events, inventions and ideas that shaped the world. The questions that torture them are the same as everyone else’s (Questions, 1981-2003) and they find beauty in the same things we all do (Flowers and Mushrooms, 1997-98). Often, their works feature what we consider playful and useless, at the same time giving us effective clichés about artists to bandy about, clichés that make mini-dramas out of freedom, obsessions, relativity, responsibilities and self-determination.
Ringier Group Communications