Critics’ Picks

View of “Anders Lutz and Anders Guggisberg,” 2009.

View of “Anders Lutz and Anders Guggisberg,” 2009.


Anders Lutz and Anders Guggisberg

Centre Culturel Suisse, Paris
38, rue des Francs-Bourgeois
February 14–April 19, 2009

A glance at Anders Lutz and Anders Guggisberg’s vast oeuvre might instinctively prompt a skeptical roll of the eyes and a quick dismissal of the artists as yet another Swiss duo bent on reiterating the refined clumsiness, childlike inquisitiveness, and carefree sense of humor canonized by Peter Fischli and David Weiss. Yet while Fischli and Weiss rigorously amass, archive, and ingeminate subjects of contemporary experience––from sausages to existential questions––Lutz and Guggisberg cultivate distraction through their compulsive study of haphazardly gathered stimuli; like archaeologists gone awry, they “dig” not to find artifacts but to bury them, rediscovering the present by its ironic historicization.

For their first solo exhibition in Paris, the artists shuffle between notions of interior and exterior. In Il etait une fois sur la terre (Once upon a time on the earth), 2009, a vast glacial landscape in wood and plaster arches up and over a balcony in the entrance hall, creating a den that hides the gallery’s reception desk. Footprints on the panels appear to indicate the work’s origin: Perhaps it lay underfoot during the creation of Cabinets des Idôles (Cabinet of Idols), 2009, a collection of plaster swamp-men seated on wicker thrones inside hastily fashioned display cases. In an annexed project space across the courtyard, Schlecksteinezimmer (Room of Licked Stones), 2002–2009, seems to be a forest clearing composed not of polished organic elements but of figures found in a museum warehouse: plinths, pedestals, sculptures, cushions, rolled carpets, and paintings.

A selection of black-and-white photographs from the artists’ book Impressions from the Interior (2008) maps the duo’s meandering practice. In one print, layers of wax drippings overwhelm a candle seen amid reflections in a restaurant window. The image recalls a sculpture from the project-space installation: Atop a pile of carefully balanced wooden fragments, a snowy peak is formed from a mound of dripped wax.