Table of contents:

Interview With Sculptor Urs Fischer: "People Have Problems With Art"
Interview With Sculptor Urs Fischer: "People Have Problems With Art"
Video: Interview With Sculptor Urs Fischer: "People Have Problems With Art"
Video: CHLA Urs Fischer x RxART 2023, February

"If you are a big tree, we are a small ax" - these lines of the singer of carefree freedom, Bob Marley, formed the basis for the name of the new Moscow exhibition of another opponent of frames and conventions - the famous sculptor Urs Fischer. Surrealist, conceptualist, neo-Dadaist, master of banal shocking and provocateur - it seems that none of the present-day self-taught sculptors has caused as much controversy among critics as the charming 43-year-old Swiss. Back in the mid-90s, the enfant terrible of art won the sympathy of the strong in the art world in the person of gallery owner Larry Gagosian and collector Francois Pinault, who opened his Palazzo Grassi museum in 2012 with a retrospective of Ursa.

Fischer, known to visitors to galleries and art fairs for his large-scale statements - like a huge earthen pit-grave dug in the floor, plasterboard walls broken by a giant monster, plush toys the size of a five-story building and rain of three thousand plastic drops - appeared in Garage in a much more chamber role. This does not diminish the drive, it simply becomes different: the mini-sculptures painstakingly scattered around the hall are not lost in a strange way, but play in the spacious, bright hall on the second floor of the museum. This game of scale, the dialogue of world heritage with 3-D scanning, photographs, fruit, wax, clothes and a toilet bowl: everything is mixed - in the signature style of Fischer - in the exhibition "Little Ax", timed to coincide with the museum's anniversary in the new building.


Urs Fischer at the Little Ax exhibition at Garage

Urs, the exhibition appeared the idea in your last visit to the " Garage " a year ago, you saw a building renovated by Rem Koolhaas:. You liked it, you've done some measurements, you have already appeared some ideas you left almost a year to work and here you are, standing with me in the middle of your sculptures, have I correctly reconstructed the chronology of events?

Yes, that's right. I always start from some characteristic feature in my creative life. The distinctive features of this building, originally built in the 1960s in the style of Soviet modernism, led to such works.

Is all the work done specifically for Garage?

Most of the small sculptures I made specifically for the exhibition. They were made in my workshop in New York, I brought them with me - thanks to their compact size, they fit literally in two drawers. And the carbon fiber rainbow curved line has three parts and was assembled on site. When designing it, I also kept in mind the scale of the hall and the height of the ceiling, so it fits here especially effectively.

In your art, for the most part, you use simple objects of the material world - bread, chairs, candles, apples. You seem to be doing nothing special with them, but they are somehow mysteriously poeticized by you. Why do you choose such a simple art language close to everyday life?

Oh yes, I hope my chair doesn't look like just a chair, otherwise I must go home. What you mean is what distinguishes a sculpture from an object.

That being said, you often use readymade

Yes. For example, this chair was carved out of wood by my father: he made chairs for my mother, my sister and me. And now a year ago I took him from my parents' house and transported him to my place. Not so long ago, I look at him and understand that I really like him. I molded it out of plastic and made prints - in fact, these are the marks of my own hands as I moved the chair.

It turns out a ready-made that you transform. Do you have a favorite exhibit at the exhibition " Small Ax " ?

Most of all I like Moscow here, the city itself. Just kidding. In fact, I like many objects: maybe not all of them look as good here as they could, but there is nothing to be done - this is the nature of exhibitions. I enjoy this little bonfire, blue horse and other mini sculptures. But I can't say what exactly I think about them and how I evaluate them, because I have never done this. I just like them now. I like that my exhibition is not packed with exhibits, but on the contrary, it even seems that it is almost nonexistent. This is food for thought.

I personally really like the freedom-loving idea of ​​the YES street workshop, which is located in the Arts Square in front of the Garage. Let's talk about it: " YES " has been going on for five years in different countries. Have you noticed any peculiarities in the behavior of people taking part in a collective sculpture? For the participants, is it more a game or a serious creative process?

In such a large-scale version, the YES installation works for the third time. Three years ago, it lasted one day in Los Angeles, and it looked very different than in Moscow. Maybe this is partly due to the fact that they smoke more weed there, their work turns out to be a little fabulous, not of this world. In Moscow, I see a lot of natural elements - animals, plants. At the same time, images are repeated: not only because people tend to copy each other, but also because there is a cultural imagery of thinking, a system of symbols inherent in a people or a nation. I also noticed the growth of ambitions: at first, people made only small sculptures, and then they got used to it, they began to give themselves more freedom, became more daring and open. And that's cool, I love it.

Urs Fischer at work, Moscow site of the YES project

Were there any situations that struck you during your work with the Moscow project?

Now the weather is not very good, but the other day it was sunny, and two hundred children sculpted something, it was great. Some children are absolutely brilliant: two days ago, a very small boy, waist-deep, made a chicken - and this is one of the most beautiful sculptures at the moment. Look at her: she is on the left, next to the bench - the boy has made a trash can and a chicken sitting on it. It's just wow, very good.

You are a skilled sculptor yourself. Why do you need public art? The main complaint of an unprepared audience for such projects is that, strictly speaking, you attracted thousands of people to create it, what is your artistic statement?

For a child, creativity is one of the most natural ways to communicate and express oneself. And many adults have problems with art: they don't know where to start, they get stuck: how to do it, I don't understand, what can I blindfold, and so on. But, in fact, all people are capable of creativity. The idea of ​​"YES" is at the same time very simple and quite complex: I, in fact, change the information sphere. There are a lot of parameters and rules that restrain people in life every day - and I create a situation in which you do not have to be a professional. Even if this sculpture turns out to be a failure, the result does not suit you, it does not matter at all! There is no pressure at all: you can just be here and have fun. I came to Moscow for ten days to also participate in a street project, and I'll be back later.

Tell us more about the material you are working with the public: the courtyard " Garage " brought several tons of clay.

Yes, this is unbaked clay in briquettes. The most important thing is that it is extracted from the bowels of the earth in practically the same form, it is not a professional or specialized material. When you hold it in your hands, you transmit your information to the material in the most direct way. Try it and you will understand: this is the most natural process in the world. The important thing is not what I blinded, but what I came up with and created this basis, the scene. It's hard to compare with other works of art, and in terms of art history it has a very truncated materiality - we only use one thing and it's on the floor. We can say that this is sustained in the radical minimalist tradition of the sculptor Carl Andre.

When will YES end?

The Moscow installation will end with my exhibition on August 21st. On the whole, I don’t know - to be honest, I didn’t think that it would take place in Moscow either. My original idea was to make it huge and long, anywhere. But then the idea came to make it on the Arts Square in front of the museum, and I'm happy with this option. Perhaps "YES" will happen somewhere else someday - if I'm interested.

Many of your objects self-destruct during exposure - fruits rot, wax melts. And what happens to the sculptures " YES » ? They are stored somewhere?

The good thing about clay is that it can be used many, many times. I don't know yet what will happen to the sculptures, we are currently working on options. We used to give them to ceramics specialists, or to those who wanted to take them for themselves. Whether given to schools, potters, or disposed of - it's easy.

Is art for Urs Fischer a process of creation or destruction?

What's the difference?

  • interview
  • art
  • Art
  • Exhibition

Popular by topic