Peter Fischli/David Weiss:
«Bücher, Editionen und Ähnliches»

An exhibition to mark the opening of the Art Library in the Sitterwerk

April 22, 2006 to May 02, 2006

The exhibition «Bücher, Editionen und Ähnliches» (Books, Edition and the Like) by Peter Fischli and David Weiss marks the start of a loose series of exhibitions in the newly opened Art Library, whose unifying thread is meant to be the connections between book and art.

Since beginning to work together, Peter Fischli and David Weiss have attached great value to the artists books, and collectors and special editions that have accompanied and illustrated their artistic work over 30 years and simultaneously form a part of their work as a whole. The selection of multifaceted printed works and the preliminary drafts that preceded them that could be seen in the Library is shaped by the personal preferences of the two artists. Thus, for example, the overview of various stages in the conception and design of the central publication «Plötzlich diese Übersicht» (Suddenly this Overview) from 1982 provided direct insights into the working method of Fischli and Weiss. A first prototype for this catalogue consists of loose sheets and original prints of photographs of the 180 clay figures, which are mounted by hand and provided with titles - individual gaps indicate a later re-use of the missing images. Despite digital technology, the process of designing printed products has not fundamentally changed for Peter Fischli and David Weiss. A preliminary draft of the publication «Equilibres», which went to print shortly after the exhibition in the autumn of 2006, also consists of loose sheets. Although it is made up of color, laser printouts, the image captions are written by hand.

The notes of the two artists on the setting up of installation works also have the character of collages. Peter Fischli and David Weiss visualized the coordinates of the «Fragen» (Questions) projections using notation reminiscent of musical scores and thus arrived at the ideal sequence of constellations of various questions such as: «Why does the earth rotate once a day?», «Is it possible to think everything» or «Am I the sleeping bag of my soul?». To a certain extent as a by-product of exploring the subject of asking questions over many years, what was finally created is also one of the most successful publications of the Publishing House Bookshop Walther König in Cologne. The «handy to use volume» continues to astound and perplex as a result of the artistically convincing combination of thorny questions and irony of the finest variety with the banality of the most inexpensive form of book production.

The sequence of such sketches, pre-press stages and collectors and special editions was punctuated in the exhibition by large-format reproductions of graphics and various exhibition posters, which were designed in part with the help of the artists. The exhibition «Bücher, Editionen und Ähnliches» was supplemented by video works including «Der Lauf der Dinge» (The way things go), «Büsi» (Kitty), or an entirely new editing of the work «Der Rechte Weg» (The right way), and thus provided an overview of the work of the two artists in their own way. In the process, the exhibition also made reference to the retrospective solo exhibition of Peter Fischli and David Weiss that was shown in the Tate Modern in London in the autumn of the same year.

The days and weeks before and during ArtBasel represent the hectic highpoint in the happenings in contemporary art every year. In many places in Europe, attempts are therefore made at this time to attract the attention of the public interested in art with dazzling effects. The exhibition by Peter Fischli and David Weiss in the Art Library in the Sitterwerk, which focused on the fine tones and facets of the associative cross-connection in their oeuvre, provided a pleasant contrast to this hype.

Literature in the Art Library