Triple the love at Matthew Marks Gallery

by Melissa Gamwell

10 January 2010

Peter Fischli & David Weiss are basically my favorites from the realm of celebrity artists, and Matthew Marks currently has given them the attention of all three of his Chelsea galleries. This show is almost over! It ends on the 16th and I strongly recommend a visit.

The show is in three parts, the first (in the order that I visited them) is Clay and Rubber at 523 W24th. This show included 26 objects that span the past three decades of the duo’s rubber casting and hand-built clay works. I have seen some of these pieces at their Tate Modern retrospective, but the lot is an amazing spectrum of elemental beauty in objects. The clay pieces are primarily models of machined, recto-linear objects. Marks of the artists hands are proximally apparent, subtly highlighting the surface and distinguishing their over-sized forms from a real smooth-cast brick, sono-tube or chain-link. The rubber objects contrast as casts of natural or highly detailed forms, and the material is often hidden by the original detail of the pieces. Both of the materials engage the viewer and the object, negating the importance of purpose and true material, allowing the pure form of everyday objects to be considered. The gallery was also perfect, in that it didn’t overwhelm the objects with massive space, but was large enough to investigate the pieces with/out the context of the others.

Matthew Marks Gallery@ 523 West 24th

Wood Table, 2005, Black Rubber, 157 x 96 x 45cm

Raven, 1986, Black Rubber, 28 x 41 x 14cm

Chain, 2009, Reinforced clay, 14 x 107 x 14cm

Little Wall, 1987, Black Rubber, 77 x 34 x 41cm

Root, 2005, Black Rubber, 60 80 x 60cm

Stairs, 1987, Black Rubber, 36 x 87 x 53cm

Drawer, 1987, Black Rubber, 14 x 51 x 43cm

Down the street at 522 West 22nd is Sun, Moon and Stars, an exhibition of a book that F&W started as a project for an annual report. The book is pretty daunting to flip through, but here I spent quite a bit of time re-examining the flats which I thought were more successful than the original format in conveying the visual and topical similarities. Below is quoted from the MM press release:

Sun, Moon and Stars is an encyclopedic accumulation of 800 magazine advertisements culled form hundreds of international periodicals. Begun as a project commissioned by a Swiss corporation for its annual report, the finished project is displayed in thirty-eight wood and glass tables, totaling 330 feet in length. A dizzying reaction to late capitalism in various chromatic groupings, the ads are shown in a specific order that exploits the formal, thematic and color similarities between advertisements.”

Matthew Marks Gallery@ 522 West 22nd

Case Detail

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Gallery Detail

Resting next door at 526 West 22nd, are the deflated avatars of Fischli & Weiss, titled Sleeping Puppets. Rat and Bear were first shown in the film The Least Resistance, 1981, and The Right Way, 1983 ( translated dialogue quoted below) Click on the links to watch the films.

“BEAR: Do you see the moon? Look at it carefully.

RAT: I need more stones. We have hardly begun.

BEAR: I’ve been watching it. It’s like me.

It comes and goes.

Always on the move…looks at everything.

It does what it pleases.

RAT: So you want to leave.

BEAR: What am I suppose to do? Are you staying here?

RAT: Now all it needs is a roof

BEAR: Good. I’ll come with you.

RAT: I’ll leave the stones here..

BEAR: …but I’m taking the dream with me

Into the unknown.”

Bye Bye! Matthew Marks Gallery @ 526 West 22nd

Peter Fischli & David Weiss

Matthew Marks Gallery

October 30, 2009- January 16, 2010

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