“Peter Fischli … has always possessed a keen eye for the interface between art and that which is evidently located beyond it.” –Bice Curiger

Click here to view the full essay by Bice Curiger.

In his wide-ranging oeuvre, Fischli carefully observes and draws from the everyday world to create sculpture, installation, video and works on paper that address similar concerns to those explored as part of his collaborative practice with David Weiss (1946–2012). His ongoing interest primarily focuses on the often overlooked, quotidian aspects of everyday life which he reworks in an experimental and humorous way. Often using simple or conventional materials, his works raise questions about the nature of art and our existence in the world by shifting the meaning and reading of things.

The exhibition at the London Gallery is the first solo presentation of works by Peter Fischli with Sprüth Magers, an exhibition that continues the gallery’s nearly forty-year collaboration with the Swiss artist. Occupying two floors, the show focuses on three bodies of work.

 

Peter Fischli – Peter Fischli – London

Peter Fischli
PROFESSOREN-EDITION (The Phantom of the Authentic), 1962/2017
Lithograph
99 × 73.5 cm
39 × 29 inches

More Views
Peter Fischli – Peter Fischli – London

Peter Fischli
Installation view, Sprüth Magers, London, June 3–July 31, 2021

Presiding over the exhibition is Fischli’s PROFESSOREN-EDITION (The Phantom of the Authentic); the lithograph in the reception is based on a watercolor of a jungle-dwelling monkey that the artist painted for his godfather when he was ten years old. Its imagery echoes in RELIEFS (Monkeys), a group of three-dimensional objects—five sculptures in different hues which can be seen on the ground and first floors of the exhibition.

They are all made out of expanding polyurethane foam a material used in the construction industry to isolate buildings. Fischli adapted this material for his sculptures by filling it into previously made silicone molds and allowing it to expand in them before freeing the resulting relief and working it further by hand.

Details
Peter Fischli – Peter Fischli – London

Peter Fischli
PROFESSOREN-EDITION (The Phantom of the Authentic), 1962/2017
Lithograph
99 × 73.5 cm
39 × 29 inches

Peter Fischli
PROFESSOREN-EDITION (The Phantom of the Authentic), 1962/2017
Lithograph
99 × 73.5 cm
39 × 29 inches

Peter Fischli – Peter Fischli – London
Peter Fischli – Peter Fischli – London

Peter Fischli
PROFESSOREN-EDITION (The Phantom of the Authentic), 1962/2017

Peter Fischli
PROFESSOREN-EDITION (The Phantom of the Authentic), 1962/2017

Peter Fischli – Peter Fischli – London
Peter Fischli – Peter Fischli – London

Peter Fischli
PROFESSOREN-EDITION (The Phantom of the Authentic), 1962/2017

Peter Fischli
PROFESSOREN-EDITION (The Phantom of the Authentic), 1962/2017

Peter Fischli – Peter Fischli – London

Peter Fischli
Installation view, Sprüth Magers, London, June 3–July 31, 2021

Details
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1 of 2

Presiding over the exhibition is Fischli’s PROFESSOREN-EDITION (The Phantom of the Authentic); the lithograph in the reception is based on a watercolor of a jungle-dwelling monkey that the artist painted for his godfather when he was ten years old. Its imagery echoes in RELIEFS (Monkeys), a group of three-dimensional objects—five sculptures in different hues which can be seen on the ground and first floors of the exhibition.

They are all made out of expanding polyurethane foam a material used in the construction industry to isolate buildings. Fischli adapted this material for his sculptures by filling it into previously made silicone molds and allowing it to expand in them before freeing the resulting relief and working it further by hand.

“… consisting mostly of air and holes, polyurethane foam is … the ideal substance for filling difficult gaps within existing structures and materials. A chemical reaction causes the foam to expand into free space – in this case, monkey shaped voids.” –John Kelsey

Click here to view the full essay by John Kelsey.

Peter Fischli – Peter Fischli – London

 

 

Each of the five reliefs is unique with distinct characteristics: While some have a clearly visible jungle background, others have no background at all or only a hint of it; the same can be said of the monkeys, which are elaborated in variously abstract or very concrete ways. 

 

 

Peter Fischli – Peter Fischli – London

Peter Fischli
RELIEFS (Monkey 21), 2021
expanding polyurethane foam;
plinth: honeycomb cardboard painted with champagne chalk
94 × 64 × 29 cm
plinth: 50 × 105 × 60 cm
37 × 25 1/8 × 11 3/8 inches
plinth: 19 3/4 × 41 3/8 × 23 5/8 inches

The sculptures’ frontal orientation is a formal reference to both the flatness of the original watercolor and features of classical reliefs. Each of the works appears on pedestal that (though ostensibly solid) is actually made of honeycomb cardboard and only appears to be as stable as a typical wooden sculpture base.

Details
Peter Fischli – Peter Fischli – London

Peter Fischli
RELIEFS (Monkey 21), 2021
expanding polyurethane foam;
plinth: honeycomb cardboard painted with champagne chalk
94 × 64 × 29 cm
plinth: 50 × 105 × 60 cm
37 × 25 1/8 × 11 3/8 inches
plinth: 19 3/4 × 41 3/8 × 23 5/8 inches

Peter Fischli
RELIEFS (Monkey 21), 2021
expanding polyurethane foam;
plinth: honeycomb cardboard painted with champagne chalk
94 × 64 × 29 cm
plinth: 50 × 105 × 60 cm
37 × 25 1/8 × 11 3/8 inches
plinth: 19 3/4 × 41 3/8 × 23 5/8 inches

Details
icon_fullscreen
1 of 1

The sculptures’ frontal orientation is a formal reference to both the flatness of the original watercolor and features of classical reliefs. Each of the works appears on pedestal that (though ostensibly solid) is actually made of honeycomb cardboard and only appears to be as stable as a typical wooden sculpture base.

RELIEFS (Monkey 24), a variant of the monkey series, represents an exception. Although also a three-dimensional, sculptural work, it is hung on the wall and thus oscillates between the lithograph in the reception and the freestanding sculptures, linking the two mediums.

Peter Fischli – Peter Fischli – London

Peter Fischli
RELIEFS (Monkey 24), 2021
expanding polyurethane foam
100 × 72 × 16 cm
39 3/8 × 28 3/8 × 6 1/4 inches

Details
Peter Fischli – Peter Fischli – London

Peter Fischli
RELIEFS (Monkey 24), 2021
expanding polyurethane foam
100 × 72 × 16 cm
39 3/8 × 28 3/8 × 6 1/4 inches

Peter Fischli
RELIEFS (Monkey 24), 2021
expanding polyurethane foam
100 × 72 × 16 cm
39 3/8 × 28 3/8 × 6 1/4 inches

Details
icon_fullscreen
1 of 1

RELIEFS (Monkey 24), a variant of the monkey series, represents an exception. Although also a three-dimensional, sculptural work, it is hung on the wall and thus oscillates between the lithograph in the reception and the freestanding sculptures, linking the two mediums.

Peter Fischli – Peter Fischli – London

 

 

“A form made of countless tiny bubbles, the monkey is a sort of sculptural ghost, still carrying the hollowness of the gap it briefly filled while in its liquid state. It also still carries the aggressive formlessness of expanding foam, which had to be captured and compressed inside a mold in order for the monkey to appear.” –John Kelsey

Peter Fischli – Peter Fischli – London

Peter Fischli
RELIEFS (Monkey 23) , 2021
expanding polyurethane foam;
plinth: honeycomb cardboard painted with champagne chalk
95 × 71 × 15 cm
plinth: 50 × 105 × 60 cm
19 3/4 × 41 3/8 × 23 5/8 inches
plinth: 19 3/4 × 41 3/8 × 23 5/8 inches

Peter Fischli – Peter Fischli – London

Peter Fischli
Installation view from the artist’s studio

Details
Peter Fischli – Peter Fischli – London

Peter Fischli
RELIEFS (Monkey 23) , 2021
expanding polyurethane foam;
plinth: honeycomb cardboard painted with champagne chalk
95 × 71 × 15 cm
plinth: 50 × 105 × 60 cm
19 3/4 × 41 3/8 × 23 5/8 inches
plinth: 19 3/4 × 41 3/8 × 23 5/8 inches

Peter Fischli
RELIEFS (Monkey 23) , 2021
expanding polyurethane foam;
plinth: honeycomb cardboard painted with champagne chalk
95 × 71 × 15 cm
plinth: 50 × 105 × 60 cm
19 3/4 × 41 3/8 × 23 5/8 inches
plinth: 19 3/4 × 41 3/8 × 23 5/8 inches

Peter Fischli – Peter Fischli – London

Peter Fischli
Installation view from the artist’s studio

Details
icon_fullscreen
1 of 2

 

“A form made of countless tiny bubbles, the monkey is a sort of sculptural ghost, still carrying the hollowness of the gap it briefly filled while in its liquid state. It also still carries the aggressive formlessness of expanding foam, which had to be captured and compressed inside a mold in order for the monkey to appear.” –John Kelsey

Peter Fischli – Peter Fischli – London

Peter Fischli
RELIEFS (Monkey 20), 2021 (detail)

Peter Fischli – Peter Fischli – London

Peter Fischli
RELIEFS (Monkey 20), 2021
expanding polyurethane foam;
plinth: honeycomb cardboard painted with champagne chalk
101 × 70 × 30 cm
plinth: 50 × 105 × 60 cm
39 3/4 × 27 5/8 × 11 7/8 inches
plinth: 19 3/4 × 41 3/8 × 23 5/8 inches

Peter Fischli – Peter Fischli – London

Peter Fischli
Installation view from the artist’s studio

 

“Recalling the ornamentation on architectural facades or perhaps tombstones, the monkeys seem to be taking one small step from their two-dimensional starting point, as if tip-toeing into … the world.” –John Kelsey

Details
Peter Fischli – Peter Fischli – London

Peter Fischli
RELIEFS (Monkey 20), 2021 (detail)

Peter Fischli
RELIEFS (Monkey 20), 2021 (detail)

Peter Fischli – Peter Fischli – London

Peter Fischli
RELIEFS (Monkey 20), 2021
expanding polyurethane foam;
plinth: honeycomb cardboard painted with champagne chalk
101 × 70 × 30 cm
plinth: 50 × 105 × 60 cm
39 3/4 × 27 5/8 × 11 7/8 inches
plinth: 19 3/4 × 41 3/8 × 23 5/8 inches

Peter Fischli
RELIEFS (Monkey 20), 2021
expanding polyurethane foam;
plinth: honeycomb cardboard painted with champagne chalk
101 × 70 × 30 cm
plinth: 50 × 105 × 60 cm
39 3/4 × 27 5/8 × 11 7/8 inches
plinth: 19 3/4 × 41 3/8 × 23 5/8 inches

Peter Fischli – Peter Fischli – London

Peter Fischli
Installation view from the artist’s studio

Peter Fischli
Installation view from the artist’s studio

Details
icon_fullscreen
1 of 3

 

“Recalling the ornamentation on architectural facades or perhaps tombstones, the monkeys seem to be taking one small step from their two-dimensional starting point, as if tip-toeing into … the world.” –John Kelsey

Peter Fischli – Peter Fischli – London
Peter Fischli – Peter Fischli – London
Peter Fischli – Peter Fischli – London
Details
Peter Fischli – Peter Fischli – London
Peter Fischli – Peter Fischli – London
Peter Fischli – Peter Fischli – London
Details
icon_fullscreen
1 of 3

Joining the reliefs are approximately 20 groups of cans, each varying in numbers, from the artist’s CANS, BAGS AND BOXES series. Made of painted cardboard, they are also placed on or in pedestals of various dimensions, appearing either individually, in pairs or combined into small groups. The cans are lacquered with gloss and matte paint, carved or decorated with patterns.

 

Peter Fischli – Peter Fischli – London

Peter Fischli
CANS, BAGS AND BOXES (Can Group Nr. 6), 2019
mounted cardboard, paint;
plinth: honeycomb cardboard painted with champagne chalk
90 × 30 × 30 cm
35 3/8 × 11 7/8 × 11 7/8 inches

More Views
Peter Fischli – Peter Fischli – London

Peter Fischli
CANS, BAGS AND BOXES (Can Group Nr. 16), 2019
mounted cardboard, paint;
plinth: honeycomb cardboard painted with champagne chalk
120 × 25 × 25 cm
47 1/4 × 9 7/8 × 9 7/8 inches

More Views
Peter Fischli – Peter Fischli – London

Peter Fischli
CANS, BAGS AND BOXES (Can Group Nr. 1), 2019
mounted cardboard, paint;
plinth: honeycomb cardboard painted with champagne chalk
70 × 45 × 45 cm
27 5/8 × 17 3/4 × 17 3/4 inches

More Views
Peter Fischli – Peter Fischli – London

Peter Fischli
CANS, BAGS AND BOXES (Can Group Nr. 3), 2019
mounted cardboard, paint;
plinth: honeycomb cardboard painted with champagne chalk
100.5 × 30 × 30 cm
39 5/8 × 11 7/8 × 11 7/8 inches

More Views
Peter Fischli – Peter Fischli – London

Peter Fischli
Installation view, Sprüth Magers, London, June 3–July 31, 2021

Here the artist explores forms inherent to ordinary food packaging, the kind found in any supermarket or household. He creates new versions of familiar objects and shifts them to a new environment, interrogating the sculptural significance and artistic value of their formal design in a humorous way. The contrast imbues the works with a certain complexity: mundane and extraordinary, abstract and representational, disposable packaging and work of art.

Details
Peter Fischli – Peter Fischli – London

Peter Fischli
CANS, BAGS AND BOXES (Can Group Nr. 6), 2019
mounted cardboard, paint;
plinth: honeycomb cardboard painted with champagne chalk
90 × 30 × 30 cm
35 3/8 × 11 7/8 × 11 7/8 inches

Peter Fischli
CANS, BAGS AND BOXES (Can Group Nr. 6), 2019
mounted cardboard, paint;
plinth: honeycomb cardboard painted with champagne chalk
90 × 30 × 30 cm
35 3/8 × 11 7/8 × 11 7/8 inches

Peter Fischli – Peter Fischli – London
Peter Fischli – Peter Fischli – London

Peter Fischli
CANS, BAGS AND BOXES (Can Group Nr. 6), 2019

Peter Fischli
CANS, BAGS AND BOXES (Can Group Nr. 6), 2019

Peter Fischli – Peter Fischli – London

Peter Fischli
CANS, BAGS AND BOXES (Can Group Nr. 16), 2019
mounted cardboard, paint;
plinth: honeycomb cardboard painted with champagne chalk
120 × 25 × 25 cm
47 1/4 × 9 7/8 × 9 7/8 inches

Peter Fischli
CANS, BAGS AND BOXES (Can Group Nr. 16), 2019
mounted cardboard, paint;
plinth: honeycomb cardboard painted with champagne chalk
120 × 25 × 25 cm
47 1/4 × 9 7/8 × 9 7/8 inches

Peter Fischli – Peter Fischli – London
Peter Fischli – Peter Fischli – London

Peter Fischli
CANS, BAGS AND BOXES (Can Group Nr. 16), 2019

Peter Fischli
CANS, BAGS AND BOXES (Can Group Nr. 16), 2019

Peter Fischli – Peter Fischli – London

Peter Fischli
CANS, BAGS AND BOXES (Can Group Nr. 1), 2019
mounted cardboard, paint;
plinth: honeycomb cardboard painted with champagne chalk
70 × 45 × 45 cm
27 5/8 × 17 3/4 × 17 3/4 inches

Peter Fischli
CANS, BAGS AND BOXES (Can Group Nr. 1), 2019
mounted cardboard, paint;
plinth: honeycomb cardboard painted with champagne chalk
70 × 45 × 45 cm
27 5/8 × 17 3/4 × 17 3/4 inches

Peter Fischli – Peter Fischli – London
Peter Fischli – Peter Fischli – London

Peter Fischli
CANS, BAGS AND BOXES (Can Group Nr. 1), 2019

Peter Fischli
CANS, BAGS AND BOXES (Can Group Nr. 1), 2019

Peter Fischli – Peter Fischli – London

Peter Fischli
CANS, BAGS AND BOXES (Can Group Nr. 3), 2019
mounted cardboard, paint;
plinth: honeycomb cardboard painted with champagne chalk
100.5 × 30 × 30 cm
39 5/8 × 11 7/8 × 11 7/8 inches

Peter Fischli
CANS, BAGS AND BOXES (Can Group Nr. 3), 2019
mounted cardboard, paint;
plinth: honeycomb cardboard painted with champagne chalk
100.5 × 30 × 30 cm
39 5/8 × 11 7/8 × 11 7/8 inches

Peter Fischli – Peter Fischli – London
Peter Fischli – Peter Fischli – London

Peter Fischli
CANS, BAGS AND BOXES (Can Group Nr. 3), 2019

Peter Fischli
CANS, BAGS AND BOXES (Can Group Nr. 3), 2019

Peter Fischli – Peter Fischli – London
Peter Fischli – Peter Fischli – London

Peter Fischli
CANS, BAGS AND BOXES (Can Group Nr. 3), 2019

Peter Fischli
CANS, BAGS AND BOXES (Can Group Nr. 3), 2019

Peter Fischli – Peter Fischli – London

Peter Fischli
Installation view, Sprüth Magers, London, June 3–July 31, 2021

Details
icon_fullscreen
1 of 5

Here the artist explores forms inherent to ordinary food packaging, the kind found in any supermarket or household. He creates new versions of familiar objects and shifts them to a new environment, interrogating the sculptural significance and artistic value of their formal design in a humorous way. The contrast imbues the works with a certain complexity: mundane and extraordinary, abstract and representational, disposable packaging and work of art.

“Some of the sculptures are based on a memory of artworks made for a movie shot in Los Angeles in 1981. One could say: the better prop, the closer we come to the real possibility of sculpture. And: the more convincing the sculpture, the more successful the little miracle of making an artist appear too.” –Peter Fischli

Peter Fischli – Peter Fischli – London

Peter Fischli
CANS, BAGS AND BOXES (Can Group Nr. 20), 2019
mounted cardboard, paint;
plinth: honeycomb cardboard painted with champagne chalk
39.5 × 93 × 93 cm
15 1/2 × 36 5/8 × 36 5/8 inches

More Views
Peter Fischli – Peter Fischli – London

Peter Fischli
CANS, BAGS AND BOXES (Can Group Nr. 21), 2019
mounted cardboard, paint;
plinth: honeycomb cardboard painted with champagne chalk
33.5 × 53 × 53 cm
13 1/8 × 20 7/8 × 20 7/8 inches

More Views
Details
Peter Fischli – Peter Fischli – London

Peter Fischli
CANS, BAGS AND BOXES (Can Group Nr. 20), 2019
mounted cardboard, paint;
plinth: honeycomb cardboard painted with champagne chalk
39.5 × 93 × 93 cm
15 1/2 × 36 5/8 × 36 5/8 inches

Peter Fischli
CANS, BAGS AND BOXES (Can Group Nr. 20), 2019
mounted cardboard, paint;
plinth: honeycomb cardboard painted with champagne chalk
39.5 × 93 × 93 cm
15 1/2 × 36 5/8 × 36 5/8 inches

Peter Fischli – Peter Fischli – London
Peter Fischli – Peter Fischli – London

Peter Fischli
CANS, BAGS AND BOXES (Can Group Nr.20), 2019

Peter Fischli
CANS, BAGS AND BOXES (Can Group Nr.20), 2019

Peter Fischli – Peter Fischli – London
Peter Fischli – Peter Fischli – London

Peter Fischli
CANS, BAGS AND BOXES (Can Group Nr.20), 2019

Peter Fischli
CANS, BAGS AND BOXES (Can Group Nr.20), 2019

Peter Fischli – Peter Fischli – London

Peter Fischli
CANS, BAGS AND BOXES (Can Group Nr. 21), 2019
mounted cardboard, paint;
plinth: honeycomb cardboard painted with champagne chalk
33.5 × 53 × 53 cm
13 1/8 × 20 7/8 × 20 7/8 inches

Peter Fischli
CANS, BAGS AND BOXES (Can Group Nr. 21), 2019
mounted cardboard, paint;
plinth: honeycomb cardboard painted with champagne chalk
33.5 × 53 × 53 cm
13 1/8 × 20 7/8 × 20 7/8 inches

Peter Fischli – Peter Fischli – London
Peter Fischli – Peter Fischli – London

Peter Fischli
CANS, BAGS AND BOXES (Can Group Nr. 21), 2019

Peter Fischli
CANS, BAGS AND BOXES (Can Group Nr. 21), 2019

Peter Fischli – Peter Fischli – London
Peter Fischli – Peter Fischli – London

Peter Fischli
CANS, BAGS AND BOXES (Can Group Nr. 21), 2019

Peter Fischli
CANS, BAGS AND BOXES (Can Group Nr. 21), 2019

Peter Fischli – Peter Fischli – London
Peter Fischli – Peter Fischli – London

Peter Fischli
CANS, BAGS AND BOXES (Can Group Nr. 21), 2019

Peter Fischli
CANS, BAGS AND BOXES (Can Group Nr. 21), 2019

Details
icon_fullscreen
1 of 2

“Some of the sculptures are based on a memory of artworks made for a movie shot in Los Angeles in 1981. One could say: the better prop, the closer we come to the real possibility of sculpture. And: the more convincing the sculpture, the more successful the little miracle of making an artist appear too.” –Peter Fischli

Peter Fischli – Peter Fischli – London

 

 

This same celebration of the everyday is also present in COLLAGES (Wir Ungestalten), two works of which are installed in the staircase between the ground and first floors of the gallery, acting as an intermediary between the spaces. They consist of black-and-white and color photographs that Fischli took on nighttime forays through the city. The works are composed of multiple layers of photos that evoke a haptic, three-dimensional sensation, once more alluding to the notion of the sculpture and relief. The oft-abstract collages show markings or “tags” made from white shaving foam.

 

 

Peter Fischli – Peter Fischli – London

Peter Fischli
COLLAGES (Wir Ungestalten 13), 2020/21
screenprint and inkjet photo collages on aluminum
32 × 41 cm
12 5/8 × 16 1/8 inches

Scrawled by persons unknown, they appeared in public spaces around Zurich including park benches, building facades, cars, and houses. It is a latently aggressive yet ephemeral kind of rebellion, as the mark is only visible for a brief moment before it dissolves—an almost poetic reminder of transience.

Details
Peter Fischli – Peter Fischli – London

Peter Fischli
COLLAGES (Wir Ungestalten 13), 2020/21
screenprint and inkjet photo collages on aluminum
32 × 41 cm
12 5/8 × 16 1/8 inches

Peter Fischli
COLLAGES (Wir Ungestalten 13), 2020/21
screenprint and inkjet photo collages on aluminum
32 × 41 cm
12 5/8 × 16 1/8 inches

Details
icon_fullscreen
1 of 1

Scrawled by persons unknown, they appeared in public spaces around Zurich including park benches, building facades, cars, and houses. It is a latently aggressive yet ephemeral kind of rebellion, as the mark is only visible for a brief moment before it dissolves—an almost poetic reminder of transience.

The micro-vandalism is less an act of actual destructiveness than an act per se—a collectively planned and executed intervention that says, “I was here.”*

The mark becomes a signature.

Peter Fischli – Peter Fischli – London

Peter Fischli
COLLAGES (Wir Ungestalten 12), 2020/21
screenprint and inkjet photo collages on aluminum
32 × 41 cm
12 5/8 × 16 1/8 inches

Details
Peter Fischli – Peter Fischli – London

Peter Fischli
COLLAGES (Wir Ungestalten 12), 2020/21
screenprint and inkjet photo collages on aluminum
32 × 41 cm
12 5/8 × 16 1/8 inches

Peter Fischli
COLLAGES (Wir Ungestalten 12), 2020/21
screenprint and inkjet photo collages on aluminum
32 × 41 cm
12 5/8 × 16 1/8 inches

Details
icon_fullscreen
1 of 1

The micro-vandalism is less an act of actual destructiveness than an act per se—a collectively planned and executed intervention that says, “I was here.”*

The mark becomes a signature.

Peter Fischli – Peter Fischli – London

All installation views by Benjamin Westoby

 

*Excerpt from Bice Curiger: I Was Here!, In: Thomas D. Trummer (ed.): Peter Fischli, Kunsthaus Bregenz, 2020, Exhibition Catalog