Swiss Artist David Weiss Dies at 65

Posted filed underContemporary Art, News, Sculptures, Switzerland, Video Art, Videos.

David Weiss, one half of Peter Fischli/David Weiss, or Fischli/Weiss, a Swiss art duo known for sculptures, photographs and videos that enumerate, celebrate and ever-so-gently skewer the banalities of everyday life, and for “The Way Things Go,” one of the most acclaimed art films of the late 20th century, died on April 27 in Zurich. He was 65.

The New York Times: “The cause was cancer, said a representative of the Matthew Marks Gallery in Chelsea, which has represented Fischli/Weiss since 1999.

Fischli/Weiss belonged to a generation of artists that emerged in the late 1970s and 1980s following the fragmenting effects of Conceptual Art. Like many others, they reassembled art in more modest yet worldly ways that revivified object-making with idiosyncratic materials and techniques.

The neutrality and sweetness of their art was in many ways typically Swiss: it tended to approach the macrocosmic quietly, through innocuous accumulations of the microcosmic. In this it was also unendingly realistic. Its exploitation of found objects and images, recognizable materials, homey processes and familiar themes repeatedly expanded on, and domesticated, Marcel Duchamp’s austere modernist principle of the ready-made.

In some instances they replicated scenes from history or daily life with a disarmingly amateurish innocence. Their first collaboration was the 1979 Sausage Series, a group of staged color photographs whose scenes — “At the North Pole,” “At the Carpet Shop” and “The Caveman” — were constructed primarily from sausages and sliced luncheon meats. They made their well-received gallery debut in 1981 in Zurich with “Suddenly This Overview,” a series of 250 small, crude figurative sculptures in unfired clay that illustrated the Bible, world history, popular culture or basic concepts from invariably quirky angles. “Popular Opposites: Small and Big” depicts a rat and an elephant of equal table-top-figurine size. A depiction of two tousle-haired men walking along the street, one carrying a guitar case, is titled “Mick Jagger and Brian Jones going home satisfied after composing I Can’t Get No Satisfaction.”

Read on at The New York Times

“Peter Fischli (born 8 June 1952) and David Weiss (21 June 1946 – 27 April 2012), often shortened to Fischli/Weiss, were an artist duo that had been collaborating since 1979. They were among the most renowned contemporary artists of Switzerland. Their best-known work is the film Der Lauf der Dinge (The Way Things Go). This was described by The Guardian as being “post apocalyptic”, as it is all about chain reactions and the way in which objects fly, crash, and explode across the studio it was shot in.” (Wikipedia)

Peter Fischli & David Weiss – Der Lauf der Dinge


THE WAY THINGS GO – without narration or interviews

Simply records the self-destructing performance of Fischli’s and Weiss’ most ambitious construction: 100 feet of physical interactions, chemical reactions, and precisely crafted chaos worthy of Rube Goldberg or Alfred Hitchcock.

Fischli and Weiss remove these things that surround us from their contexts in our daily lives, and then restructure their relationships to one another. The artists aim neither to glorify nor to alienate these common objects, but merely to create new references in which they might be considered.