Peter Fischli David Weiss: How to Work Better at Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, February 5 – April 27, 2016

“From 1979 to 2012, Swiss artists Peter Fischli (b. 1952) and David Weiss (1946–2012) collaborated on a body of work that offers a deceptively casual meditation on how we perceive everyday life. Through a witty “misuse” of cultural genres—from low-budget Hollywood movies and picture-postcard views to the art historical notion of the readymade—they transformed the ordinary into something decisively not.

Never ones to issue statements or dictate meaning, Fischli and Weiss pondered questions great and small, sometimes imitating whimsical philosophers. Perhaps in part because they were a team of two, they challenged the idea of dualism, a cornerstone of Western thought. In one way or another, everything the artists produced playfully unravels what they understood to be “popular opposites”—labor versus leisure, fiction versus reality, kitsch versus beauty, and the banal versus the sublime, among others. Fischli and Weiss undid false divisions with the conviction that bewilderment itself might be a desirable state. They aimed to confuse hierarchies and values by creating systems doomed to fail and found beauty in states of imminent collapse.” — Nancy Spector, Deputy Director and Jennifer and David Stockman Chief Curator, and Nat Trotman, Curator, Performance and Media

How_To_Work_Better_red

Peter Fischli David Weiss. How to Work Better, 1991. Screenprint on paper, in six colors, 70 x 50 cm, unlimited edition © Peter Fischli and David Weiss

Rat and Bear-TheLeastResistance

Peter Fischli David Weiss. The Least Resistance, 1980–81. Color video, transferred from Super 8 film, with sound, 29 min. Courtesy the artists © Peter Fischli and David Weiss

RatandBearSleeping_clean

Peter Fischli David Weiss. Rat and Bear (Sleeping), 2008. Cotton, wire, polyester, and electrical mechanism, overall dimensions vary with installation. Jumex Collection, Mexico City © Peter Fischli and David Weiss. Photo: Courtesy Fischli Weiss Archive, Zürich

Suddenly This Overview

Peter Fischli David Weiss. Selections from Suddenly This Overview, 1981– Series of approx. 600 sculptures in unfired clay, various dimensions, between 6 x 7 x 5 cm and 82 x 83 x 5 cm © Peter Fischli and David Weiss. Installation view: Peter Fischli & David Weiss: Flowers & Questions: A Retrospective, Kunsthaus Zürich, June 8–Sept. 9, 2007. Photo: Courtesy Fischli Weiss Archive, Zürich

Sausage Series

Peter Fischli David Weiss. At the Carpet Shop (from Sausage Series), 1979. Chromogenic print, 24 x 36 cm. Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, Clinton and Della Walker Acquisition Fund, 1993 © Peter Fischli and David Weiss

Airports_Pan Am

Peter Fischli David Weiss. Image from Airports, 1987–2012. Digital slide projection of 469 color images. Glenstone © Peter Fischli and David Weiss

FirstBlushofMorning

Peter Fischli David Weiss. The First Blush of Morning, 1984 (from Equilibres [A Quiet Afternoon], 1984–86). Chromogenic print, 30 x 24 cm. Jumex Collection, Mexico City © Peter Fischli and David Weiss

Animal

Peter Fischli David Weiss. Animal, 1986 (from Grey Sculptures, 1984–86/2006–08). Polyurethane, paint, and cloth, 45 x 50 x 85 cm. Private collection © Peter Fischli and David Weiss. Photo: Courtesy Fischli Weiss Archive, Zürich

Untitled, 1994-2013(Detail)

Peter Fischli David Weiss. Untitled, 1994–2013 (detail). Painted polyurethane, 164 parts, overall dimensions vary with installation. Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, Purchased with funds contributed by the Collections Council and through prior gifts of an anonymous donor, Mr. and Mrs. Nathan L. Halpern, and the Andrew Powie Fuller and Geraldine Spreckels Fuller Bequest 2014.115 © Peter Fischli and David Weiss. Photo: Jason Klimatsas

The Way Things Go

Peter Fischli David Weiss. The Way Things Go, 1987. Color video, transferred from 16 mm color film, with sound, 30 min. Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, Gift, Matthew Marks 2015.18.3 © Peter Fischli and David Weiss

Untitled (Venice)

Peter Fischli David Weiss Untitled (Venice Work), 1995 (detail). 12-channel color video installation, with sound, 96 hours, overall dimensions vary with installation. Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg, Germany © Peter Fischli and David Weiss

Kitty_TSA

Peter Fischli David Weiss Büsi (Kitty), 2001. Color video, silent, 6 min., 31 sec. Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, Gift, Matthew Marks 2015.19 © Peter Fischli and David Weiss

Images courtesy Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum