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Christie's Annual Auction of Swiss Art to Offer the Most Important Work by Fischli/Weiss Ever Offered
Peter Fischli / David Weiss, Der Lauf der Dinge (The Way Things Go), 1987, Mixed media installation, and film reel, installation size variable, 2 glass cabinets, 145 x 145 x 57 cm. Estimate: SFr 900,000-1,500,000. © Christie's Images Limited.

ZURICH.- At the annual auction of Swiss Art in Zurich on 1 December 2008, Christie’s will offer the most important work by Swiss artists Peter Fischli and David Weiss ever presented at auction; the installation Der Lauf der Dinge, 1987 (The way things go, 1987) and the 16mm reel of the iconic short film Der Lauf der Dinge, 1987 (The way things go, 1987), one of the most viewed art videos of all times which brought the artists instant international recognition when it first was presented at the Kassel documenta 8 in 1987.

The way things go, 1987 (estimate SFr. 900,000-1,500,000) will be offered by Swiss collector Alfred Richterich and will be sold to benefit the Alfred Richterich foundation which has supported cultural and charitable projects and initiatives in Switzerland for two decades.

The film The way things go was the crowd-pulling piece when it was presented alongside its ‘Making of’ video at the Fischli/Weiss Retrospective at Tate Modern in 2007. It is set in a warehouse, where the artists document an epic half-hour chain reaction featuring simple mundane objects – string, soap, styrofoam cups, rubber tires, pails, bottles, balloons, mattresses and a variety of corrosive and flammable liquids. Some objects hesitate, as if reflecting upon what it is they are about to do, and thereby become anthropomorphised, operating like ideosyncratic cartoon characters.

The installation The way things go (1987) was put together after the filming. Fischli/Weiss selected around 40 of their “main actors” and preserved these sculptural centrepieces in two 145 x 145 x 57 cm showcases. The installation went to the private collection of Swiss entrepreneur Alfred Richterich.

Some of the pieces such as the famous beetle – a drinking bottle flanked by two knifes mounted on a roller skate – were occasionally singled out and charmed millions of visitors at international exhibitions such as the Tate Modern Retrospective in 2007. But the complete installation was only three times shown publicly – 1988 the in Museum für Gegenwartskunst Basel, 1992 in the Centre Pompidou Paris and in 1993 in the Kunsthaus Aarau. At Christie’s Zurich it will be on public view from 6 – 25 November 2008.

René Lahn, Specialist for Post War and Contemporary Art Christie’s Zurich: “Christie’s is honoured to offer this iconic piece of Swiss Contemporary art from a Swiss collection to an international audience of private collectors and institutions at the annual auction of Swiss art in Zurich. We are proud to be able to exhibit this work to the public for almost a month before the sale.”

Alfred Richterich: “It’s the new generation of Swiss artists who should benefit from the sale of this exceptional piece of Swiss art. The focus of the Alfred Richterich foundation lies on contemporary art projects, which we support with more than half of our annual funds.”

The public viewing of the installation at Christie’s Zurich will be kicked off with a lecture by Patrick Frey, the Swiss publisher and director of the “The way things go - Making Of” video, which was screened for the first time alongside the film at the Fischli/Weiss retrospectives at the Kunsthaus Zurich and the Tate Modern in 2007.

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