Peter Fischli

(b. 1952)

Show Summary Details

Quick Reference

(1952– ) and


Swiss artists, both born in Zurich. Fischli's father was an architect and artist who had trained at the Bauhaus and had austere notions about interior design, refusing to allow ‘bourgeois’ upholstered furniture in the house, but he also admired the more playful aspects of modernism exemplified by Duchamp, Picabia, and Schwitters. Fischli and Weiss began their collaboration in 1979 and since then have made work in a wide variety of media; a constant theme has been the attempt to make the commonplace appear extraordinary. Suddenly this Overview (1981) is a series of over 200 tiny sculptures in unfired terracotta. On examination, and with a prompt from the titles, these apparently inconsequential objects are revealed to depict important events. Mick Jagger and Brian Jones going home satisfied after composing ‘I Can't get no Satisfaction’ and The last dinosaur standing lonely on a deserted landscape are examples. They have also made sculptures of everyday objects in polyurethane. Their best-known work is in film. In The Least Resistance (1981) and The Right Way (1983) the artists were disguised as animals exploring first the art world, then a wilderness. The Way Things Go (1987) is an elaborately set-up sequence of events in which for half an hour objects fall on one another and interact in a kind of crazy domino-toppling mechanism. This last has become something of a popular favourite and has been much plagiarized by the advertising industry.

Further Reading

J. Heiser, ‘The Odd Couple’, Frieze (October 2006)G. Moure, ‘Peter Fischli and David Weiss’, Artforum International (February 2001)

Subjects: Art.

Reference entries

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.