Urs Fischer, Things, 2017 (detail), milled aluminum, steel, power magnets, two-component epoxy adhesive, 125 1/4 × 204 3/8 × 118 1/2 inches (318 × 519 × 301 cm), edition of 3 + 1 AP © Urs Fischer. Photo: Stefan Altenburger
Tuesday, May 15, 6–8pm
“Art” has always been a word for this thing that can’t be rationalized, when you see or hear something that you struggle to explain. But that’s its strength, of course.
Gagosian is pleased to present Things by Urs Fischer at 511 Fifth Avenue, New York.
Amid the bustle of midtown Manhattan, a rhinoceros can be glimpsed through tall, arched windows at street level. Various man-made objects—including a copy machine, a car door, a handbag, a vacuum cleaner, a shovel, and a table—seem to float right through the creature, as if released from Earth’s gravitational pull. Carved out of aluminum, this barrage of incongruous items forms a single, continuous unit, anchored by the rhinoceros, which stands its ground. Produced at life size from a 3D scan of a taxidermy animal, its furrowed visage looms from a height of more than ten feet.
Things considers the ways that objects and forces—from plastic bottles and Wi-Fi signals to memories, history, and emotion—gather around and pass through our bodies as we move through the world, creating countless versions of reality that are specific to each of us. Like the rhinoceros, we absorb all that comes into our vicinity, and in the process we ourselves undergo a constant, often undetectable metamorphosis. Existence itself is thus presented as an accumulation, a collective gathering of physical and metaphorical baggage.
In his use of traditional materials and current technologies, Fischer’s art tests the boundaries of possibility and perception. He has used clay, steel, wax, bread, dirt, vegetables, and fruit, among other substances, often to extreme paradoxical visual effect, revealing a keen attunement to the infinite mutability of image and form. The vicissitudes of objecthood are further complicated when Fischer’s sculptures are installed outside of the typical white-walled gallery. In a courtyard, a vacated bank, an open field, his extroverted works have acted as portals into the uncanny. Here, the portal opens right between Grand Central Terminal and Bryant Park. An extraordinary creature made up of ordinary parts, Things transports unsuspecting passersby, if just for a moment, into a world that is at once prehistoric, digital, and mysteriously uncharted.
This special installation coincides with Sōtatsu, an exhibition of new paintings by Fischer at Gagosian 980 Madison Avenue, through June 23.
Urs Fischer was born in Zurich in 1973, and lives and works in New York. Collections include the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Vanhaerents Art Collection, Brussels; FRAC-Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur, Marseille, France; Fondation Carmignac, Paris; Kunstmuseum Basel, Switzerland; Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst, Zurich; and Museo d’arte della Svizzera Italiana, Lugano, Switzerland. Recent institutional exhibitions include the 50th Biennale di Venezia, Italy (2003); Kir Royal, Kunsthaus Zürich (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); 52nd Biennale di Venezia, Italy (2007); Marguerite de Ponty, New Museum, New York (2009–10); 54th Biennale di Venezia, Italy (2011); Skinny Sunrise, Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna (2012); Madame Fisscher, Palazzo Grassi, Venice (2012); Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (2013); YES, DESTE Foundation Project Space, Slaughterhouse, Hydra, Greece (2013); Small Axe, Garage Museum of Contemporary Art, Moscow (2016); Mon cher..., Fondation Vincent Van Gogh, Arles, France (2016); and Urs Fischer: The Public & the Private, Legion of Honor, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco (2017).
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Gagosian was established in 1980 by Larry Gagosian.