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Fischli & Weiss

Ehre, Mut und Zuversicht (Equilibres), 1985
silver gelatin print
30.5 x 23.3 cm
The series called Equilibres conveys the irony and off-kilter aspects established in the work of Peter Fischli and David Weiss. Using everyday objects that evoke a familiar environment, the artistic duo proposes a playful game, like the result of a rainy afternoon where entertainment recurs to become an artistic subject. In an unstable position, in a pendulum movement or on the point of collapsing, grater, bottle, brush, carrot and a roll of Sellotape, all of which are straight from the artists’ surroundings, are piled up and held still in a position of brief stability. Sculpture’s traditional dimension is shaken by these assemblages maintained in balance the moment of an instant, immortalised by photography.

By basing them on their appearance, the often poetic titles, such as Ehre, Mut und Zuversicht (Honour, Courage and Confidence), given to these constructions accentuate the wonder and amusement of an action which appears useless. Falling more within the ephemeral, the construction and deconstruction of these precarious inventions stimulate the imagination by playing anew with a surrealist tradition.

The research into the ordinary object and the insignificant, in which the Equilibres series fits, led the two artists to produce the experimental film Der Lauf der Dinge (The Way Things Go) in 1987. The film is thirty minutes long, during which a multitude of events unfolding in a domino effect, the result of an explosion or of the tipping of one object onto another, disturbs the apparent chaos to transform it into a series of unexpected coincidences, nevertheless orchestrated according to a meticulous preparation. Like the culmination of their balancing sculptures, the film divulges what happens at the moment when everything collapses, when these reworked objects free themselves totally from their original purpose. In their artistic approach, the Zurich-based duo reveal in particular the absurdity of wanting to continually find meaning in art and fully integrate the dimension of pleasure and frivolity.
Peter/David Fischli/Weiss, Ehre, Mut und Zuversicht (Equilibres), Honneur, Courage et Confiance, 1985