Critics’ Picks

View of “Urs Fischer,” 2013. Background: Horse/Bed, 2013.

View of “Urs Fischer,” 2013. Background: Horse/Bed, 2013.


Urs Fischer

Gagosian | Rome
Via Francesco Crispi 16
September 18–October 26, 2013

Urs Fischer’s debut solo show in Rome has a back-to-basics feeling, which makes sense, as it comes on the heels of his midcareer retrospective at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. The present exhibition consists one monumental metal sculpture—Horse/Bed, 2013—and three works from his ongoing series “Problem Paintings.” which he began in 2010. The latter are silk-screened, each featuring a human face that is obstructed by the image of an egg. The works are affixed to aluminum panels that hang on the walls of the gallery’s first and second floors. The former, began with 3D scans of a taxidermied workhorse and a hospital bed, later milled from shiny aluminum, stands in the gallery’s large oval room, where there is also a small vase of flowers on a white base, acting as a counterpoint.

The selected works aptly summarize certain fundamental features of Fischer’s artistic research, making the presentation completely effective. Both the “Problem Paintings” and Horse/Bed are manifestations of his reflections on the concept of reality, and they demonstrate how material, space, and individuals can be the subject of continuous mutations, predictable or unexpected, which change the way they are perceived. A recurring point of departure for this process is the association of ideas or objects belonging to high and low culture, exposing their varied constituent aspects and revealing the often unknown properties they possess. Fischer avails himself of the products of consumer society, treating them as objets trouvés. The result is a singular amalgamation of the historical avant-gardes and the neo-avant-gardes, a synthesis that is in a continuous state of evolution, as this Roman experience makes quite clear.

Translation from Italian by Marguerite Shore.