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Urs Fischer

Swiss Sculptor, Photographer, Installation, and Conceptual Artist

Urs Fischer Photo

Born: May 2nd, 1973 - Zurich, Switzerland

"People seem to fear art. 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, that's what the word 'art' is for."

Summary of Urs Fischer

A fascination with the collision of random objects is the driving force behind artist Urs Fischer's artistic endeavors. He admits that this illustrates his passion for the "inner mechanics of duality." When he pairs objects or material together to make his work, he questions what happens when two specific objects meet in an imagined space. Since the 1990s, he's been making artwork, most notably sculpture, which emphasizes the way his chosen subjects, images, or materials relate to, and affect each other. In his hands, seemingly disparate items form a special bond, oftentimes temporary, inviting the audience in to ponder not only the relationship, but also the inevitable decay of all constructions. Although his subversive approach to art reflects influence by earlier anti-art movements such as Neo-Dada, Situationist International or Lost Art, Fischer's unique contribution stems from his ability to infuse items with a life of their own, putting them on a pedestal to jostle our perspectives out from beneath the status quo.

Key Ideas

By approaching art history with a grain of salt, Fischer encourages us to look at artwork in a new way. He challenges the limits of each genre explored by reducing art to its base technical elements, asking the viewer to consider the sum of an artwork's whole rather than just the final visage presented.
Fischer's work reflects a long investigation of transformation, natural processes, participation, and the subversion of traditional sculpture. For example, his seminal wax pieces are presented as beautiful sculptural works, which are then lit, causing them to melt and morph over the course of an exhibition right before the viewers' eyes. The work's short lives reflect the act of being human with humor and visual wit.
Non-traditional materials play a huge part in Fischer's work - both in their original and transformational states instigated by the artist's hand. This has included bread, toys, earth, and other random fodder.
Urs Fischer Photo

When Fischer exhibited his Bread House (2004), he presented a chalet made of baguettes and loaves which over time would mold and collapse. What surprised him was about how different audiences received the work, depending on where it was exhibitted. "In Austria, they said it's about the body of Christ. In the US, it's about gluten,” he said. Bread is serious in Switzerland he added. “Is the core of everything...it's not a joke."

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