Serpentine Gallery presents Fischli/Weiss Rock on Top of Another Rock

Serpentine Gallery presents Fischli/Weiss Rock on Top of Another Rock a unique installation on view 8 March 2013 – 6 March 2014 in Kensington Gardens, outside the Serpentine Gallery, echoing the earliest and most basic types of monuments found around the world: two colossal rocks seemingly balanced precariously one on top of the other.

Fischli:Weiss Rock on Top of Another Rock
Fischli/Weiss Rock on Top of Another Rock 2013 © 2013 Morley von Sternberg

Formed of two glacial igneous granite boulders and standing approximately 5.5 metres high on a concrete base, the monumental sculpture will be visible from a number of viewpoints in the Park. With this deceptively simple gesture, Fischli/Weiss have once again achieved the delicate balancing act of creating a work that is at once incongruous and startling, and yet entirely in tune with its site – both locally and historically. Sourced in Wales and reminiscent of the many Neolithic monuments found throughout the British countryside, Fischli/Weiss’s rocks are imbued with their unmistakeable wit and a serious sense of the absurd. Fischli/Weiss have continuously demonstrated that irony and sincerity could not exist without each other and that, in fact, there is no sincerity like irony.

The installation also relates to the artists’ 1984 series of photographs, Equilibres/Quiet Afternoon, which shows precariously balanced sculptures moments before their collapse. The rocks’ massive presence teeters between stability and instability. A parallel project, commissioned by the National Tourist Routes in Norway, sees two boulders installed in the Norwegian countryside along the Valdresflya tourist route. Fischli/Weiss’s four-metre-high sculpture is installed in a rural setting, visible from the road but not immediately identifiable as art. This and the installation in Kensington Gardens will each be shaped by its context. The Serpentine has worked closely with our Norwegian colleagues to realise this project, initiated with the artists more than two years ago.

Since the late 1970s Peter Fischli (born 1952) and David Weiss (1946-2012) have captivated audiences with their transformations of the common-place and their finely-judged balance of humour and seriousness. Fischli/Weiss’s work crosses a wide range of media, but underpinning all of their work is a spirit of discovery that encourages us to take a fresh look at our surroundings. Everyday objects take on an unexpectedly lifelike quality; they balance on each other, play off each other and collide into one another, all with a witty intelligence.

Fischli/Weiss won the Golden Lion prize at the Venice Biennale in 2003 for Questions, an installation of over 1,000 photographic slides of handwritten existential questions the artists had collected over many years.

The installation is organised by the Serpentine Gallery in collaboration with The Royal Parks and Modus Operandi, and is supported by the Qatar Museums Authority. www.serpentinegallery.org

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