To the art college this evening for an installation by Dan Shay "exploring the blurring boundaries between the real and the virtual world, as apparatuses change how we see the world". I took a few photos and here they are:
A couple of cartoonish ghosts descend a flight of stairs. On the floor some vermicelli-shaped objects are arranged to resemble chains, broken bones and skulls. Facing the ghosts, on top of the wall, a bat spreads its wings. Together with another 200 or so unfired clay figurines and sculptures, this work, entitled Im Keller (In the Cellar), is part of Plötzlich diese Ubersicht (Suddenly this Overview), an installation from 1981 that was the earliest major collaborative project between Peter Fischli and David Weiss. This was the first time the work has been shown since, which made the exhibition pretty significant. One hundred and thirty-five of the original pieces were included, set on plain white pedestals.
Strolling among the work you could encounter characters from comic
books and popular culture (Clark Kent, Max and Moritz), famous Swiss
products such as Cervelas (a fat, short pinkish wurst), biblical scenes
(The Parting of the Red Sea, Saint Francis Preaching to the Animals), or
events of earth-shattering significance (the conception of Albert
Einstein, the Italy vs Germany World Cup Final). Some of the works have
straightforward, descriptive titles: a piece of crystal, for example, is
entitled Rock Crystal, and a Christ on the Cross is just that. But then
you might come across a sculpture of a man riding a motorbike entitled
Dr Hoffman after the First LSD Trip. Insanely wide-ranging and
permanently incomplete, Suddenly this Overview is a leisurely and
hilarious catalogue of scenes created from memory. There is a magical
and almost hallucinatory quality to such a proliferation of
particularities. Looking from label to sculpture to check if what you
read was really what you got, you could sense how much fun the artists
must have had making the work.
This playfulness is where the installation’s subversive force lies:
working in unfired clay, a technique you would normally use for
preliminary studies in traditional sculpture, Fischli and Weiss found a
form of process art that steered clear of both Expressionist pretensions
and Conceptual taxonomies, stressing the idea of two people managing to
joke together and still being able to call that ‘work’.