Swiss Artists Peter Fischli and David Weiss are known to take a deceptively casual approach to how we see everyday life through their body of work. 2 Steps, 1986-88 depicts two isolated steps, colored in thick black pigment. In the context of the everyday, stairs serve us in a purely practical way – aiding access to and from places. So, what does it mean when this entity ceases to provide us with a function? Simply, the stairs become an object that allows us to re-imagine the mundane with endless wonder.
Adopting the theories espoused by the Dada and Fluxus movements, the artist duo rejects the practices considered typical of contemporary art and instead applies non-conformist techniques and absurdist narratives to seemingly banal subjects. The result is an extraordinary transformation of the ordinary into something beyond its physical or ‘known’ entity. Or, in other words, reconsidering the every-day in such a way that it becomes discerningly extraordinary. As stated by Fischli, the duo was “never afraid of a stupid joke, the joke that’s so bad its embarrassing.”i These imaginative constructions certainly do not shy away from indulging these topics in such a way that plays with the audience’s perceptions and expectations.
By choosing to sculpt 2 Steps from cast synthetic rubber, the opposites reality vs. imagination, or function vs. impracticality are brought to light. Similar to the cinema stage prop, it is Fischli and Weiss’ purposeful extraction of the stairs from their normal settings, that allow for the creation of something far more meaningful. The stairs cease to be an object of function and instead become admired for their magnificent usefulness.
i Randy Kennedy, “Fischli and Weiss: Anarchy at the Guggenheim”, The New York Times, 2 February 2016, online.
cast synthetic rubber
14 1/8 x 34 1/4 x 20 1/2 in. (35.9 x 87 x 52.1 cm)
Executed in 1986-88, this work is from an edition of 5 plus 2 artist's proofs.
Galerie Eva Presenhuber, Zürich
Acquired from the above by the present owner
New York, Skarstedt Gallery, Fischli & Weiss Rubber Sculptures, September 9 - October 18, 2008 (another example exhibited)
New York, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Peter Fischil & David Weiss: How to Work Better, February 5 - April 20, 2016 (another example exhibited)
Please note: This lot is the property of a private individual.
Nam June Paik