Cultured Magazine

Summer 2013

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 93 of 123

GRAND GESTURES One hall isn't enough for Urs Fischer. Two museum buildings, though, are just about right. Jonathan Griffin checks in with the artist as he prepares for his first U.S. retrospective. PHOTOGRAPHY BY STEFAN ALTENBURGER The Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art has never given over both of its buildings to an exhibition by a single living artist. But Urs Fischer has a propensity for taking up space. His retrospective, which opened this April in MOCA's Grand Avenue galleries as well as its cavernous Geffen Contemporary building, proves that scale has been a consistent interest for the 39-year-old, Swiss-born artist throughout his illustrious career. Not that Fischer always uses scale in the way one might expect. The Geffen Contemporary's centerpiece is titled YES, 2013, and is made from more than 200 tons of clay formed into hundreds of individual sculptures swarming through the Geffen's many galleries. Fischer enlisted the help of around 1,500 volunteers—from elementary school students to professional artists—to create what he sees as "a city" in clay. No single object is bigger than a few feet tall, and many would fit in the palm of your hand. It is infinitely detailed, and very delicate—as the clay dries over the course of the three and a half month exhibition, it will crack and start to disintegrate. At the end of the show it will be swept up and recycled, the resaturated clay donated to schools. Fischer is a burly man (he once worked as a bouncer) and a big character. He works in the legacy of male sculptors—from Auguste Rodin to Gordon MattaClark, Claes Oldenburg to Jeff Koons—who are known for making spectacularly scaled monuments. But Fischer's work remains ambivalent about bigness, and vulnerable to the entropic effects of time. An untitled trio of sculptures from 92 CULTURED

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of Cultured Magazine - Summer 2013