Urs Fischer: The Kiss at Sadie Coles HQ
Unlike most artists, Urs Fischer encourages us to wreck his latest exhibition piece.
Based on Auguste Rodin’s famous effigy of two lovers entwined, Fischer invites us to remould his plasticine replica of the statue. A continuation in many ways of the celebrated melting candle figures he’s exhibited before, the shift in materials gently changes focus from destruction to recreation, in every sense of the word.
This playful neo-dada subversion is what we’ve come to anticipate of Fischer, a New York artist who can fill a space with the absurd and hold the viewer’s focus for hours.
Housed in a classic white gallery space, the plasticine figure looks distinctly like a plaster cast, complete with rough matte texture and minute imperfections. The brilliant attention to detail helps play on our expectations, deliciously subverting how we interact with sculpture.
Visitors are encouraged to play and remould the figures, and surprisingly the responses are more witty than destructive. The addition of a cigarette and lank strands of hair is the childish humour one looks for from Fischer’s work, so it’s interesting to see the continuation of his style through the audience as a medium.
The feeling of naughty fun, however, does not extend to the hanging digital prints, which seem separate in both curation and theme. Featuring stills from the film Dracula, the silk print images have been digitally altered to include paint smears over the photos, a colourful addition intended to transcend the artifice of the original picture and inscribe it with new potential.
This motif is sympathetic to the main piece but feels significantly withdrawn from the plasticine model. The paint on the canvas is digital and feels staged, whereas the statue is real, uncontrolled, vulnerable to the will of its audience.
The implication of the artwork is that the power of the individual can reform classic ideals of art and beauty. As we watch the gradual destabilising transformation of a classical figurine, there is a significant shift in hierarchy that encourages us to question the importance of the original idea, and the hazy line between work of a master and amateur.
It’s a thoughtful concept and something one can watch progress over the days; a work devolving into a mass made by the masses, it is one of the few pieces of art to be seen on its last day on show.
Urs Fischer: The Kiss is at Sadie Coles HQ from 1st February until 11th March 2017, for further information visit here.
For further information about Urs Fischer visit here.