Urs Fischer - Contemporary Art Part I New York Wednesday, May 11, 2011 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    The Modern Institute, Glasgow

  • Exhibited

    Glasgow, The Modern Institute, Oh. Sad. I see., November 3 – December 6, 2006

  • Literature

    B. Curiger, M. Gioni and J. Morgan, Urs Fischer Shovel in a Hole, Switzerland, 2009, p. 420 (illustrated in color) and pp. 327 and 421 (installation views)

  • Catalogue Essay

    Urs Fischer is most well-known for his sculptural works, which reflect on the nature of everyday objects that are normally taken for granted. In the present lot, for example, an ordinary pack of cigarettes, a coffee cup and a shipping pallet are treated as silkscreened simulacra. The cup printed on a rectangular block, approximating the scale of the original source. The cigarette pack is also physically transformed, but through enlargement — Fischer takes an item that is normally just a few inches tall and doubles it in size, while keeping every other aspect of its appearance the same. In the opposite direction, the artist has reduced the size of the wooden support for shipping freight to less than half it’s normal size. Thus, Fischer’s alterations of mundane objects, highlights the features of these items that are accepted as most obvious and inherent — a cigarette pack’s pocket size, for instance, or a coffee cup’s round profile. By combining photorealist accuracy with surrealist manipulation, Fischer not only reconstructs these objects, but deconstructs them as well.

    “Fischer is openly indebted to a wide array of historical sources ranging form the centuries-old tradition of nature morte, the nineteenth-century sculptural trope of the partial figure, aspects of Surrealism, and even as engagement with the legacy of institutional critique (ambiguously emptied of politics). In addition he has a clear affinity with the oeuvres of such individual figures as Franz West and Dieter Roth. As ever, however, Fischer employs a distancing effect to these legacies through the use of an ‘inappropriate’ alteration of materials or method of production leaving the odd impression for the viewer of having been seduced by the effect — sexual, beautiful, macabre, or poignant — or referential allure only to have its verity tarnished by the hint of cynicism that appears to be at work refusing us (and him) the pleasure
    of comfortably settling into a familiar realm.” (J. Morgan, “If you Build your House on a Bed of Rotting Vegetables”, Urs Fischer: Shovel in a Hole, New Museum, New York, 2009, p. 44)


Cup / Cigarettes / Skid

Wood, polyurethane, acrylic paint and nails in three parts.
Coffee cup 7 1/2 x 9 1/2 x 7 in. (19.1 x 24.1 x 17.8 cm). Cigarettes 10 1/4 x 5 1/2 x 3 1/2 in. (26 x 14 x 8.9 cm). Skid 32 x 26 3/4 x 3 1/2 in. (81.3 x 67.9 x 8.9 cm.)
Signed “Urs Fischer” on the reverse of the skid. This work is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity signed by the artist.

$200,000 - 300,000 

Sold for $290,500

Contemporary Art Part I

12 May 2011
New York