Peter Fischli & David Weiss



7 July – 4 October 01


In the context of the exhibition series archives of images, the KW Institute for Contemporary Art present the work Visible World (2000) by the Swiss artists Peter Fischli and David Weiss.

Peter Fischli's and David Weiss' works always deal with the ordinary and well-known aspects of everyday life, which they submit to dual transformation: in a subtle way the artists transform our imagination of what we see rather than manipulating the objects and situations themselves. Full of irony and humour, the immaculate and disclosing banality between the truth of the image and the image of the "truth" unveil the relation between everyday life and its pitfalls.

With the room filling installation Visible World, Peter Fischli and David Weiss seem to offer a comprehensive survey of the whole world. Two-thousand eight hundred medium scale slides are arranged on a 22 meter long light-table, documenting what the artists photographed over the past decades when travelling around the world and touring their local neighbourhood. At the first glance, the photographs resemble images of travel brochures or vacation shots each of us could take: pictures of cities, landscapes and tourist highlights like Stonehenge, the pyramids, Rio de Janeiro and the Matterhorn, are juxtaposed with photographs of unspectacularities. City and countryside are linked, the local parallels the global - the famous is given the same emphasis as the ordinary. Employing the mode of the normal vacation shot, Peter Fischli and David Weiss search for its perfection - for the most perfect, hence most ordinary viewpoint.

The encyclopaedic character of the work suggests a survey of reality. Only with time the viewer realises that it is a pseudo overview which has little to do with the reality: the world is too complex, too much in constant change for summarisation. Since an overview itself cannot exist, it is also impossible to assemble a representative selection. The selection is therefore entirely casual; dependent on the personal preferences or selection criteria of its creators. In the end the work unveils the randomness and limitation of every kind of categorising system or archive.

"Visible World is also a very precise title: what Fischli and Weiss show are neutral (and exactly because of their neutrality poignant) renderings of what they saw. Their view shows the surface of what there is to be seen - whatever is hidden behind it, the "invisible world", remains open, open for the interpretations and thoughts of the viewer." (Simon Maurer, Tagesanzeiger Zurich)

Before Berlin, the installation Visible World was exhibited in Barcelona (Museu d'Art Contemporani), Basel (Museum für Gegenwartskunst) and Porto (Museu de Arte Contemporanea). During the documenta X, the video of the same name has been shown in its full length of 8 hours on the TV channel "Arte".
Thanks to Galerie Hauser & Wirth & Presenhuber, Zurich; Collection Hauser & Wirth, St. Gallen. Kunst-Werke are especially grateful to Eva Presenhuber.