Peter Fischli David Weiss
Sonne, Mond und Sterne
November 27, 2008–January 31, 2009
Sonne, Mond und Sterne is a gallery-scale presentation of a project which originated in book form as a commission by the Swiss media conglomerate Ringier AG, to customise their annual report and turn it into a work of art.
The 2007 Ringier annual report consists of 40 pages of business data, and 800 pages of adverts. The adverts have been carefully selected and scanned by the artists from hundreds of newspapers and magazines that could be found at any newsstand in any part of the globalised marketplace. The adverts cover the whole spectrum of the lifestyle of the contemporary consumer, ranging from sport to travel and from fashion to family life. The adverts are carefully grouped and each image is positioned opposite a purposefully chosen companion image, so that each double-page spread forms a kind of diptych, revealing through association or juxtaposition an aspect of our mass culture of consumption.
Sonne, Mond und Sterne has the effect of a kind of visual encyclopaedia of late capitalism, a typology of the present which exists between sociological research and an aesthetic analysis of the everyday. The specific ordering of the adverts within the report, and their arrangement into instructive and often ambiguous tableaux, amounts to an impressive testament to the power of the modern economic system and the ways in which goods and services define the modern self. ‘Sonne, Mond und Sterne’ resists becoming a straightforward critique of consumerism; however, as Beatrix Ruf, curator of the Kunsthalle Zurich, notes: “Fischli and Weiss paired up 800 different ads and put them in an order that allows many interpretations – but tells no story.“