Peter Fischli and David Weiss

Born: Fischli: 1952; Weiss: 1946

Died: Weiss: 2012

Hometown: Zürich, Switzerland

Lives and Works: Fischli: Zürich, Switzerland

Education: Fischli:
Academia di Belle Arti, Bologna, Italy, 1977
Academia di Belle Arti, Urbino, Italy, 1976
Kunstgewerbeschule, Basel, Switzerland, 1965
Vorkurs, Kunstgewerbeschule, Zürich, Switzerland, 1964

Works by the Artist

Peter Fischli and David Weiss Bio

About The Artist

The Swiss artists Peter Fischli and David Weiss began collaborating in 1979, creating films, photographs, sculptures, and installations that draw on the aesthetics of slapstick by comedically arranging everyday materials into absurd scenarios. For their first collaborative project, the Sausage Photographs, the pair constructed and photographed playful tableaux—including a car crash and a fashion show—featuring various kinds of sausage as the central figures. Similarly, for the 1984—85 series Equilibrium, the artists photographed furniture, bottles, clothing, and other miscellaneous objects in precarious arrangements in their studio, resulting in illogical, gravity-defying compositions.

Equilibrium served as the inspiration for what is perhaps their best-known work: the 1987 film The Way Things Go, which premiered at Documenta 8 in 1987. For the half-hour-long film, Fischli and Weiss assembled a Rube Goldberg machine in an empty warehouse, creating a sequence of chain reactions from ordinary objects assembled into elaborate configurations. While their projects have taken various forms, an interest in the inherent humor of the everyday remained constant throughout their career.

Among the most critically acclaimed contemporary artists in Europe, Fischli and Weiss have been the subject of numerous international exhibitions, including a major retrospective, Flowers and Questions: A Retrospective, that opened at Tate Modern in 2006. They represented Switzerland at the Venice Biennale in 1995, and were included such Biennale exhibitions as Utopia Station in 2003 (curated by Hans-Ulrich Obrist, Molly Nesbit, and Rirkrit Tiravanija) and ILLUMINations in 2011, curated by Bice Curiger. In 2003, the pair won the Biennale's prestigious Golden Lion award for their installation Questions, a slideshow depicting hundreds of handwritten questions, ranging from the mundane to the existential.


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