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Fischli & Weiss
Flowers & Questions. A Retrospective
Tate Modern: Exhibition
11 October 200614 January 2007

This is the first UK retrospective to explore the collaborative art practice of Swiss artists Peter Fischli (born 1952) and David Weiss (born 1946).

Since the late 1970s the artists have consistently captivated and amused audiences with their extraordinary transformations of the commonplace. Fischli and Weiss work across a wide range of media and this exhibition presents their sculpture, installation, moving image and photography. Underlying all of their work is a childlike spirit of discovery which encourages the viewer to look afresh at their surroundings. In Fischli and Weiss’s world everyday objects take on an unexpectedly lifelike quality; they balance on each other, play off each other and collide into one another with a witty intelligence infused by the artists.

Displayed works include a history of the world told through the medium of hand-modelled clay figures and a multiple slide projection installation which asks hundreds of big and small philosophical questions such as ‘Will happiness find me?’ Visitors also have the chance to see two outstanding films. The Right Way 1983, features the artists, dressed in rat and bear costumes, scaling Alpine slopes and crossing rivers as they seek the right way. In The Way Things Go 1987, a mesmerising array of household objects, including teapots, tyres, buckets and balloons, crash into one another in an absurd chain reaction powered by home-made explosions and collisions.

This intriguing exhibition also presents the photographic series Quiet Afternoon 1984–5, which documents precariously balanced household utensils on the verge of collapse, and painstakingly hand-crafted polyurethane sculptures which simulate the myriad of everyday objects to be found in Fischli and Weiss’s studio.

Supported by Pro Helvetia, Swiss Arts Council, and by Stanley Thomas Johnson Foundation