Spring 2016 Talks: Peter Fischli in Conversation with Dr Renate Goldmann

About the Talk

In 1979, Peter Fischli (b. 1952) began collaborating with David Weiss (1946–2012) to create works that focus as much on artistic practice as on artistic output. Known for their do-it-yourself spirit, Fischli and Weiss juxtapose daily experiences and universal ponderings, while utilizing a wide range of materials and media, including photography and video, polyurethane, found objects, unfired clay, and even deli meat. This interest has extended into their various public artworks, with the public realm providing a platform for the artists to not only further explore daily experiences, but as space for surprise and play.

For his talk at The New School, Peter Fischli will focus on the duo’s works in the public realm in conversation with Dr Renate Goldmann. Among their projects are Haus, 1987, which has been reinstalled outside the Solomon R. Guggenheim as part of their retrospective. Originally installed in Munich’s city center, Haus is a scaled-down, generic, modernist office building, which combines the architecturally mundane with the unexpected. In 1990 the artists also installed a snowman outside of a power plant in Saarbrücken, utilizing the plant’s energy to keep the snowman frozen year round. A decade later, Fischli and Weiss planted a functioning garden of flowers and vegetables on the outskirts of Münster, and when invited to create a durable artwork in a Norwegian national park, their gesture was Rock on Top of Another Rock (2009), a sculpture that played on their interest in human-made versus the natural by simply balancing one rock on top of another.

Peter Fischli’s talk accompanies Public Art Fund’s exhibition Peter Fischli David Weiss: How to Work Better, the first presentation in the United States of the artists’ iconic wall mural How to Work Better (1991). The mural forms part of a city-wide retrospective, displayed concurrently with the Guggenheim’s major Peter Fischli and David Weiss retrospective, and with Times Square’s Midnight Moment, which for the month of February will play the artists’ video Büsi (Kitty), 2001 every night at 11:57pm.

Renate Goldmann is an art historian, critic, and curator of modern and contemporary art. Since 2010 she has been director of the Leopold-
Hoesch-Museum and the Papiermuseum Düren (both near Cologne).
She completed her PhD at the University of Cologne on the Swiss artist duo Peter Fischli and David Weiss, and lives and works in Cologne.

Public Art Fund Talks at The New School are organized by the Public Art Fund in collaboration with the Vera List Center for Art and Politics at The New School.

This program is made possible in part by Con Edison and the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, as well as by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.



The New School

The 66 West 12th Street Auditorium

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About the Artist

Peter Fischli (b. 1952, Zurich, Switzerland, lives and works in Zurich) and David Weiss (1946-2012, Zurich, Switzerland) have exhibited at major museums and biennials across the globe, including the Serpentine Gallery, London (2013); Kunsthalle Budapest (2012); Art Institute of Chicago (2011); 21st Century of Contemporary Art, Japan (2010); and the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid (2009). Retrospectives of their work have been presented at Tate Modern, London (2006 – traveling to Zurich, Paris and Hamburg) and The Walker Art Center (1996 – traveling to San Francisco, Philadelphia, and Boston). The artists represented Switzerland in the 1995 Venice Biennale, and in 2003, they were awarded the Golden Lion for Questions (1981-2003), an installation of more than a thousand existential queries collected over several years.