Elementary school students, professional ceramists, and artists came together to fashion shark heads, shoes, and staircases out of clay as part of the first major retrospective of Swiss artist Urs Fischer at MOCA Los Angeles, documented here in collaboration with MOCAtv. Featuring a selection of Fischer’s works from the last decade—including the massive wax sculpture Untitled (2011), a replica of Giambologna's Rape of the Sabine Women (1579-83), a lifesize cabin made of old baguettes Untitled (Bread House), and Big Clay, installed by crane in MOCA’s garden—the exhibit presents a strangely poetic universe reflecting the Zurich-born, New York-based artist’s interest in the simultaneous creation of beauty and destruction.
Through his use of collage and the surreal transformation of materials and images, Fischer deals with the collapse of different registers of perception in 21st-century life,” explains Tate Modern curator Jessica Morgan, who helmed this L.A. exhibition. “His work is often incomplete or in the process of dematerialization or transformation, a liminal state that is suggestive of a ruin.” Some 1,500 volunteers were left free to create their own clay sculptures as part of the exhibit and explicitly instructed not to clean up the rubble.
By bringing together amateurs and professionals within the walls of the museum, Fischer undermines the art world’s guarded exclusivity, blurring the age-old question: what is art? In this case, as Morgan says, “It is a creative outpouring of the imaginative interiority in each of us.”
AT RIGHT FIND A ROBERT RAUSCHENBERG PRINT THAT SUPPORTS LOS ANGELES MOCA