Four monumental installations by the Swiss artists Fischli and Weiss are being shown at the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen between December 8th 2003 and February 8th 2004.
Characterized by a game with authenticity and fiction, their work has been on view in many places inside and outside Europe. At the Venice Biennale this year, Fischli and Weiss won the Gold Lion with an installation shown at this exhibition. Incidentally, this is the first time in 18 years that the two Swiss have returned to the Netherlands for an exhibition.
In 1979 Peter Fischli and David Weiss, both born in Zurich respectively in 1952 and 1946, decided to work together closely. Almost 25 years later they still form a duo of artists, operating from Zurich. Fischli and Weiss's oeuvre is often about seemingly insignificant things. These are put into an interesting, usually museological context according to an entirely personal, unique strategy.
The exhibition at the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen includes a presentation of three existing installations of huge dimensions, and one more or less new work. These four works can be regarded as an overview of 24 years of Fischli and Weiss. Moreover, they represent a working method that the duo applies almost systematically: ideas are refined again and again, through a series of presentations, until they acquire their definitive form. All four works at the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen come close to this ultimate form.
In the large middle gallery of the museum, the installation featuring ‘questions' will be shown. This could already be seen, in a smaller version, in Cologne (the Museum Ludwig) and at the latest Biennale in Venice. Using 20 slide projectors, hundreds of handwritten questions in six different languages are projected onto all the walls. These often existential questions cannot really be answered and are set on a slightly naive philosophical level. ‘Will happiness find me?' ‘Why does nothing ever happen?' In a special atmosphere, this elegant ‘bombardment of questions' is aimed at the viewers.
The work ‘Sichtbare Welt' is shown in one of the two adjoining galleries. It consists of a light table of immense proportions, on which more than a thousand photographs ‘document' the different stages in the oeuvre of the artists. Thus the well-known ‘Airport photos', marvellous series of flowers, snapshots of new housing estates and travel photographs come together, serially arranged. A cross section of the photographic oeuvre.
In the other adjoining gallery, visitors can discover an installation realized especially for the opening of the Tate Modern. This consists of a varied collection of implements, hand-cut from polyurethane, which can hardly be distinguished from the real examples and collectively create the impression that the room is right in the middle of being renovated. Pallets, paint buckets, pedestals, brushes, building materials, cigarette butts, etc.: everything looks real, but isn't. For the exhibition at the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen an extensive collection of new objects has been added to the existing installation by the artists.
Finally, there is a recent work. This concerns a slide installation, in which two slides are projected on top of each other every time, in such a way that a ‘monstrous' series is created. The work will be presented near the Old Art track within the museum. That way, it fits in with images by Hieronymus Bosch and his contemporaries.