Peter Fischli (Zurich, 1952) and David Weiss (Zurich, 1946) began working together in 1979. The exhibition organised by MACBA in 2000 featured a selection of the works produced in those first twenty years of artistic collaboration. Using a diverse range of media such as video, film, photography, sculpture and installations, the work of Fischli & Weiss offers a re-reading of the dynamics of our perception of everyday life, through the distortion of time. In a fast-paced world that is saturated with images and information, their detailed, deliberate, real-time representations allow us an opportunity to pause, and at the same time make us face the impossibility of taking in the whole work (and the world) in its entirety.

The piece Visible World (2009), which lent its name to the exhibition, consisted of fourteen light tables on which the artists had arranged 2,800 slides that they had taken on their travels around the world. The result was a personal reading of the idea of the atlas – or better still, the anti-atlas – as a process of documentation of the facts, places and knowledge of everyday life.

The twelve monitors that made up the video installation Untitled (1995) screened 96 hours of video footage taken by Fischli & Weiss during their regular strolls through Zurich. Thus, ordinary and apparently anodyne reality conquered territories that are ordinarily set aside for fiction and mystery.

Swiss artists Peter Fischli (1952) and David Weiss (1946), began working together in 1979 in Zurich, where they are still based. This exhibition presented a selection of works produced during their twenty years of artistic collaboration. Using video, film, photography, slide projections and sculpture, their work prompts us to revise our perception of everyday reality.

The work of Swiss artists Peter Fischli and David Weiss evokes a revision of our perception of the reality of everyday. Consequently working in a broad artistic language that contains a touch of both humour and drama, they reveal facets of the commonplace in an extraordinary way. In our fast and ever-changing world, their orchestrations of real life and real time events seem like an antidote, a remedy to save what otherwise gets lost in the speed of modern life: attention for the slow pace of the ordinary. Their narrative depictions unearth and analyse elements of our daily lives in a striking and unnerving manner.

This exhibition at the MACBA, Visible world, evolves around the first presentation of a new work by Peter Fischli and David Weiss: an elaboration of the artists' continuous research into the notions of place and documentation in liaison with the ordinary. The result is a personal account of the idea of the atlas or encyclopaedia as the ultimate collection of facts on man's life and knowledge. Their version rather reads like an anti-atlas, because their focal points are opposite of those of the generic atlas. This work questions the value of this kind of collections in a world where speed and change are key.

For their presentation in Barcelona, Peter Fischli and David Weiss selected a precise configuration of earlier works as a counterpart of the new work. Among these works is a series of double-exposed photographs, highlighting the slow processes of development in the lives of flowers, mushrooms and plants. Furthermore, a selection of their hours long real time videoworks from the series Reisevideos (Travelvideos) will be presented in the exhibition. These videos, shot while driving and walking in and around their hometown Zurich, make us aware of the particularity of every moment. The spectator is taken in by an unfulfilled expectation, as the videos are too long to be watched entirely during the opening hours of the museum. Yet, the onlooker is waiting to see if a special moment will unfold before their eyes, or if they already missed it. However, there is no such thing as 'missing the moment' in the videos of Peter Fischli and David Weiss. They make us look at reality like we have never looked at it. By hiding a large amount of this reality in the length of the videos, the banality of daily culture becomes mysterious, while mystery has faded to banality.

Curators: Roland Groenenboom and Manuel J. Borja-Villel.


16 JUNE - 11 SEP. 2000 Museum galleries 
07 JUNE - 07 OCT. 2001 Fundação Serralves