• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 2169

    Post War and Contemporary Art Afternoon Session

    14 May 2009, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 346

    Peter Fischli & David Weiss (b. 1952 & b. 1946)

    In the Studio

    Price Realised  


    Peter Fischli & David Weiss (b. 1952 & b. 1946)
    In the Studio
    seventeen elements--carved and painted polyurethane
    overall: 20 x 39.3 x 23.6 in. (51 x 100 x 60 cm.)
    Executed in 2004. (25)

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    In the Studio, exemplifies Fischli & Weiss's determination to undermine the concept of the Readymade, carefully sculpting a staged tableau of objects that one could find in any artist studio at any give time. All the objects are made of polyurethane placed playfully in a fake wooden box on a fake white plinth and realistically painted- without any purpose except contemplation, just as one would view a traditional artist's still-life.

    The present work, finds its origin in the earlier works of the artists from the 1980s. Floss (Raft) 1982, was the first large scale installation of objects carved out of polyurethane showcasing more than seventy pieces including a treasure chest, an upholstered car seat, a nursing pig and a medieval canon. While these early works could not be mistaken for the real objects they were imitating, later works, like Tisch (Table), presented in 1992 at the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, were increasingly sophisticated imitations of actual objects. Assemblages of VHS tapes, wooden panels, chocolate bars, oil canisters, heavy tools and studio utensils are uncannily realistic recreations of everyday objects in the studio made out of carefully detailed polyurethane.

    Fischli & Weiss reinterpret the Duchampian idea of the Readymade with readymade sculptures that emerge, upon closer inspection, as carefully made objects that serve no particular function or purpose.

    "Perhaps our carved objects have more of an affinity with painted still lifes. In the case of Duchamp the concept of objets trouvés,or 'found objects', is important, whereas we try to create objects. Duchamp's objects could revert back to everyday life at any point in time. Our objects can't do that; they are only there to be contemplated. They're all objects from the world of utility and function, but they've become utterly useless. You can't sit on the chairs we carve. They are, to put it simply, freed from the slavery of their utility. Nothing else is left other than to look at this chair. What else can you do with it?" (R. Fleck, Peter Fischli, David Weiss, New Your, 2005, p. 22.)


    Eva Presenhuber Gallery, Zurich
    Private collection, New York