David Weiss, one half of the Swiss conceptual art duo Fischli/Weiss, passed away on 27 April 2012, after battling cancer since September. Weiss was 66 at the time of his death.
The duo were highly regarded for their unique wit and elevation of quotidian subjects and have exhibited extensively on the international circuit. Fischli and Weiss collaborated on work in an exploration of the “poetics of banality” the actions and objects of everyday life. In 2006 they received one of Europe’s most coveted art awards, the Roswitha Haftmann Prize. Many pieces represent early iconic investigations that encompass the major themes humor, playfulness, and an interest in language and everyday objects that came to define Fischli and Weiss’s career.
The two men worked together since 1979 in an array of media including film, photography, books, and multimedia installations. The most famous of the pair’s oeuvre is Der Lauf Der Dinge (The Way Things Go) from 1986-1987, which is a half-hour film following a complicated chain of reactions recalling the Rube Goldberg cartoon inventions of the mid-twentieth century. The humour and complex relationships explored throughout the work of Fischli/Weiss has created a unique niche within the video art genre.
It is yet to be established as to how Peter Fischli will be able to continue his artistic practice following the death of his partner, but many of the pair’s repertoire will have a lasting legacy housed in such high-profile institutions as Tate Modern and the Guggenheim. Words: Emily Sack 2012
Image caption: Fischli + Weiss The Point of Least Resistance video still, 1981, 29 min.