New Museum, New York, USA

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Press Release

For his first solo presentation in an American museum,

Urs Fischer

will take over all three of the New Museum‘s gallery floors to create a series of environments featuring towering aluminum sculptures, objects that appear to melt, and a labyrinth of silkscreened chrome steel boxes that will turn an entire floor into a dazzling cityscape of mirrored images. Marking the first time the New Museum building will be devoted to one single artist, ‘Urs Fischer: Marguerite de Ponty’ will be on view from October 28, 2009 through February 7, 2010. An engineer of imaginary worlds, Urs Fischer has previously created sculptures in a rich variety of materials including such unstable substances as melting wax and rotting vegetables. In a continuous search for new plastic solutions, Fischer has in the past built houses out of bread and given life to robots and animated puppets; he has dissected objects or, alternatively, blown them out of proportion in order to reinvent our relationship to them. By digging up floors and carving massive holes in gallery walls, Fischer has explored the secret mechanisms of perception, combining the immediacy of Pop art with a neo-Baroque taste for the absurd. ‘Urs Fischer: Marguerite de Ponty’ is the culmination of four years of work: Neither a traditional survey nor a retrospective, but an ‘introspective,’ as organizing curator Massimiliano Gioni calls it, the exhibition will combine new productions with iconic artworks, allowing for an in-depth look at Fischer’s practice. Choreographed entirely by the artist, the exhibition will offer viewers a unique opportunity to immerse themselves in Fischer’s universe, revealing the world of an artist who has emerged as one of the most exceptional talents working today.

On the New Museum’s fourth floor, Fischer will present five new massive aluminum sculptures cast from small clays, hand-molded by the artist. Hanging from the ceiling or balancing awkwardly in space, these enormous biomorphic sculptures can be read as monumental abstractions, strange cocoons for mutant creatures, or cartoonish interpretations of Stonehenge. On the third floor, Fischer will present an installation that will turn the Museum’s architecture into an image of itself in a site-specific trompe l’oeil environment. The installation will also present smaller interventions that resonate with Fischer’s characteristic irreverence. In Noisette (2009), a motion-activated plastic tongue pops out of a hole punched in the wall, in a mischievous slapstick routine. The exhibition will also include a piano, crutches, and a lamppost that appear to be melting under the pressure of some mysterious, invisible force. Simultaneously solid and soft, these sculptures recall the illusionism of a Salvador Dalí painting magically transported into three dimensions. On the second floor, a similarly fluid interplay between illusion and reality pervades a major new installation that is the centerpiece of the New Museum exhibition. A technical tour de force that required more than 25,000 photographs and over twelve tons of steel, this is Urs Fischer’s most ambitious work to date. Fifty-one chrome steel boxes of various sizes will occupy the gallery, composing a grid of monoliths’an immersive cityscape of mirroring cubes onto which the artist has silkscreened a dizzying array of images. This walk-in sculpture will surround visitors with images that vary from a larger-than-life sneaker; a twelve foot- tall model of the Empire State Building; an oversized éclair; a gigantic, raw T-Bone steak; and a huge effigy of Pop star Ashanti. Like a collage unraveling before the viewer’s eyes, the mirroring surface of each box will reflect both the spectators and the images silkscreened on the neighboring sculptures, creating an optical maze that concurrently renders everything immaterial and hyper-real. Turning perceptions into mirages, Fischer’s installation composes a mechanical ballet of images, transforming the motif of the Minimalist grid into a syncopated visual rhapsody.

Urs Fischer was born in Zurich in 1973, and currently lives and works in New York City. He was included in ‘Unmonumental,’ the New Museum’s inaugural exhibition for the opening of the SANAA-designed building in 2007. Fischer’s work has been the subject of several solo exhibitions in European museums, including the Kunsthaus in Zürich; the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam; and the Centre Pompidou in Paris. His work was also included in the 2006 Whitney Biennial.

Posted by Adrian Robb

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