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Peter Fischli and David Weiss are Swiss artists who first began working together in the late 1970s. Their sculpture, video and photographic works all generate a unique atmosphere of concentration and relaxed pleasure. The mood of their work ranges from the humorous - a pair of clay figures, for example, titled Mick Jagger and Brian Jones go home satisfied after composig 'I Can't Get No Satisfaction' - to the banal - a photographic series devoted to Airports - and even the apparently invisible - their Untitled installation simulating, through minutely detailed polyurethane sculptures, an unfinished exhibition site.
While Fischli and Weiss occupy the international art world's most prestigious levels - representing Switzerland in the 1995 Venice Biennale and returning eight years later to win the Leone d'Oro prize for their slideshow Will Happiness Find Me? - they remain an unpredictable force at the very cutting edge of new art. This is the first true monograph on this extraordinary pair, who have exhibited worldwide and whose solo exhibitions include the Centre Pompidou, Paris (1992), the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (1988), and Tate Modern, London (2006).
In his Survey, French critic and curator Robert Fleck looks at Fischli and Weiss' ability to resist conventional artistic categories, crossing fluidly between sculpture, installation, photography and the moving image. In the Interview, Swiss critic Beate Sontgen discusses with the artists the notions of sincerity and illusion, and examines the question of how literally viewers are asked to read their work. Noted art critic and leading authority on Fischli and Weiss Professor Arthur C. Danto examines in the Focus the immensely popular The Way Things Go, offering a new perspective on this well known film. For Artists' Choice Fischli and Weiss have chosen a text by Robert Walser on the pleasure of walking that mirrors their own meanderings. Artists' Writings include unpublished scripts from early video works and a 1996 interview with the artist Rirkrit Tiravanija.
About the Author
Robert Fleck is Director of the Deichtorhallen in Hamburg. He has been working as an art critic and curator since 1981. From 1991-3 he was the Federal Curator for Austrian contemporary art, and in 1998 he co-curated Manifesta 2. From 2000-3 he was Director of ERBAN Fine Art School in Nantes. His books include Die Mühl-Kommune (2003) and Yves Klein (2004).
Beate Söntgen is Professor of Art History at Ruhr University, Bochum, Germany. From 2003-4 she was Laurenz-Professor of Contemporary Art at Basel University, Switzerland, and from 1998-2002 Assistant Professor at the Academy of Fine Arts, Braunschweig, Germany. She has published several books and contributed to many catalogues and publications, including Texte zur Kunst and the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ).
Arthur C. Danto is Johnsonian Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at Columbia University, New York, and the art critic for The Nation. His books include Unnatural Wonders: Essays from the Gap between Art and Life (2005), Beyond the Brillo Box: The Visual Arts in Post Historical Perspective and Encounters (1992), and Reflections: Art in the Historical Present (1992), which won the Book Critics Circle Award.