Exhibition of new sculptures and paintings by Urs Fischer on view at Gagosian San Francisco

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Exhibition of new sculptures and paintings by Urs Fischer on view at Gagosian San Francisco
Installation view, Urs Fischer, “Mind Moves,” Gagosian Gallery, San Francisco, 2016. 1 © Urs Fischer. Courtesy of the artist and Gagosian. Photo by Johnna Arnold.

SAN FRANCISCO, CA.- Gagosian San Francisco is presenting “Mind Moves,” an exhibition of new sculptures and paintings by Urs Fischer.

Resisting any single mode of representation, Fischer pushes the limits of line, color, and shape through surprising and provocative materials and subjects. “Mind Moves” brings together various formal experiments in which space is divided, sliced, opened, and closed.

In Fischer’s linear sculptures, gestural scribbles seem described in the air with the spontaneity of a drawing on page or screen. The three lines—in black and white, red-brown, and a color gradient—are activated by one’s movement around them. Depending on the vantage point, they are either deceptively two-dimensional or nearly disappear, thin and blade-like. Meanwhile, the walls of this unpredictable, oddly digital, zone are punctuated by bold paintings on cut-out aluminum panels. In these works, facial features are rendered as intersecting organic forms. Photographed fragments of Fischer’s own lips, nose, and eyebrows are freed from self-portraiture, instead becoming shapes that slide and mutate, melting and hardening in bright hues. With this series, Fischer recalls the compositional structures of grand landscape painting, presenting the two halves of his own face as topographical masses, propping gently against one another.

Returning again and again to the idea and role of interactivity in art, Fischer has also fashioned several sculptures that serve as a leisure environment possessed of an ambiguous materiality. From afar, the four sculptures appear as simple pieces of furniture, molded in clay. However, one sits down and is surprised to find that the two armchairs and two ottomans are not made of clay, but rather a pliant, foam-like material. To achieve this strange material state, Fischer first sculpted the forms in clay, then filled molds of the sculptures with urethane foam, which preserves the impressions, bumps, and ridges produced when working in clay. Thus, his hand is simultaneously emphasized and denied; he exposes, then obfuscates his process, inviting visitors to sit, read, and relax, to dwell inside bewildering experimentations in form.

In these three groups of works, Fischer’s formal inquiry straddles the real, the imaginary, and the digital. His lines are two and three dimensional; his paintings are landscapes and portraits; and his sculptures are furniture and raw materials. “Mind Moves” keeps art-historical questions alive, collapsing stability and encouraging play and speculation.

Urs Fischer was born in Zurich in 1973, and lives and works in New York. Institutional collections in which his work features include Vanhaerents Art Collection, Brussels; FRAC-Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur, Marseille; Fondation Carmignac, Paris; Punta della Dogana-François Pinault Foundation, Venice; Kunstmuseum Basel; Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst, Zurich; Museo d'arte della Svizzera Italiana (MASILugano), Lugano, Switzerland; MOCA Grand Avenue, Los Angeles; Museum of Modern Art, New York.

Selected solo exhibitions include “Kir Royal,’ Kunsthaus Zurich (2004); “Not My House Not My Fire,” Espace 315, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris (2004); “Mary Poppins,” Blaffer Gallery, Art Museum of the University of Houston, Texas (2006); “Marguerite de Ponty,” New Museum, New York (2009–10); “Oscar the Grouch,” Brant Foundation Art Study Center, Greenwich, Connecticut (2010–11); “Skinny Sunrise,” Kunsthalle Wien (2012); “Madame Fisscher,” Palazzo Grassi, Venice (2012); Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (2013); “YES," Deste Foundation Project Space, Slaughterhouse, Hydra, Greece (2013); “last supper,” Gagosian Gallery, New York (2014); “mermaid / pig / bro w/ hat,” Gagosian Gallery, New York (2014); “Fountains,” Gagosian Gallery, Beverly Hills (2015); The Modern Institute, Glasgow (2015); “Misunderstandings in the Quest for the Universal,” Gagosian Gallery, New York (2016); “Small Axe,” Garage Museum of Contemporary Art, Moscow (2016); and “Mon cher...,” Fondation Vincent Van Gogh, Arles (2016). Fischer's work was included in the Biennale di Venezia in 2003, 2007, and 2011.

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