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First comprehensive museum retrospective of works by Urs Fischer opens at MOCA
Artist Urs Fischer (L) and Tate Modern Curator of International Art Jessica Morgan attend “Yesssss!” MOCA Gala 2013, Celebrating the Opening of the Exhibition Urs Fischer, at MOCA Grand Avenue and The Geffen Contemporary on April 20, 2013 in Los Angeles, California. Rachel Murray/Getty Images for MOCA/AFP.
LOS ANGELES, CA.- The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles presents the first comprehensive museum retrospective of works by the internationally acclaimed Swiss-born artist Urs Fischer. One of today’s most important contemporary artists, Fischer is known for using a range of media to express the transience of art and, concomitantly, the human condition. Jessica Morgan, Curator, International Art, at Tate Modern in London, is curating the exhibition, which occupies a total of 65,000 square feet at both MOCA Grand Avenue and The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA, from April 21, 2013, to August 19, 2013. Presenting his work of the last decade, the show brings together for the first time Fischer’s many iconic works from leading international collections as well as recent production. Using the two spaces of MOCA, the exhibition showcases Fischer’s propensity to bridge the banal and the fantastical. Each location has a distinct character and approach responding and adapting to the unique spaces of the museum. At MOCA, Fischer weaves together the storyline of his work: skeletons meet movie stars, toys greet grave-like holes, and our accustomed sense of disinterested distance is simultaneously embraced and destroyed.

Rooted in a twisted take on reality, Fischer’s work unabashedly declares its affiliation to Pop, Surrealism, and Dada, while its production techniques and imagery place the work firmly in our contemporary sphere. Fischer’s oeuvre is characterized by a morbid glamour—sex, the macabre, and the violent effects of fracture and collage make frequent appearances. But this adult and consumer-conscious world abuts a (not unrelated) fairytale landscape populated with giant teddy bears, houses made of bread, and melting objects. In the artist’s imagination anything is possible, including the drastic escalation in scale of a fist-size clay sculpture to a towering monolith of forty feet, apparently produced by the hands of a giant.

Fischer’s world is mutable and unexpected, and the pleasure that we derive from his sculpture and painting is based on our attraction and simultaneous repulsion to the dreamlike appearances that he constructs. Fischer’s work is characterized by an unending diversity. Sculptures are constructed from an elaborate aluminum casting process, roughly hewn in wood, glued together like a mosaic from broken mirror, or cast in wax only to melt away during the run of the exhibition. The artist delights in the possibilities of surface, contrasting, for example, the highly reflective planes of an aluminum box with a photo-realistic image of a consumer object that is printed on its sides to confuse the perception of flatness and depth, real and unreal, object and image. Even works that suggest the handmade touch of the artist turn out to have been produced through a range of digital processes in order to create the oddly surreal appearance of reality gone wrong.

Urs Fischer was born in 1973 in Zurich, Switzerland. Fischer studied photography at the Schule für Gestaltung, Zurich; visited de Ateliers, Amsterdam, ; was an artist in residence at Delfina Studio Trust; and has lived and worked in Zurich, London, Los Angeles, and New York. Fischer produces work in the U.S., Europe, and Asia, and has been exhibiting since 1995. His installations and sculptures have been included in group exhibitions and biennales internationally. Among the major exhibitions in which his work was included are: Manifesta 3 and the Venice Biennale in 2003, 2007, and 2011. His first major solo exhibition, “Kir Royal,” was at Kunsthaus Zurich in 2004 and other significant museum exhibitions include “Not My House Not My Fire,” Espace 315, Centre Pompidou (2004); “Mary Poppins,” Blaffer Gallery, Art Museum of the University of Houston, Texas (2006); Cockatoo Island, Kaldor Art Projects and the Sydney Harbour Federation Trust, Sydney (2007); “Marguerite de Ponty,” New Museum, New York (2009–10); “Oscar the Grouch,” The Brant Foundation, Greenwich, Connecticut (2010–11); “Skinny Sunrise,” Kunsthalle Wien (2012); and “Madame Fisscher,” Palazzo Grassi, Venice (2012). His work has been presented in numerous group exhibitions, including “Lustwarande 2011—Blemishes,” Park De Oude Warande, Museum De Pont, Tilburg, The Netherlands (2011); “L’invention de l’oeuvre: Rodin et les ambassadeurs,” Musée Rodin, Paris (2011); “Modern British Sculpture,” Royal Academy of Arts, London (2011); “Unmonumental: The Object in the 21st Century,” New Museum, New York (2007–08); “Fractured Figure: Works from the Dakis Joannou Collection,” Deste Foundation for Contemporary Art, Athens (2007–08); and “Cinq milliards d’années,” Palais de Tokyo, Paris (2006–07).





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