Art is open—it can go on endlessly.
Gagosian is pleased to present Sōtatsu, a new painting in nine parts by Urs Fischer.
In this work, which is installed in successive panels along the walls of a single room, Fischer explores the ways that space can be divided, stretched, opened, and closed—creating a panorama that is as continuous as it is fragmented. Inspired by the hand scrolls and painted screens of early seventeenth-century Japanese artist Tawaraya Sōtatsu, Fischer’s interior landscape uses negative space, light, and repetition to evoke time and movement. Sōtatsu, whose work Fischer has long admired, was a cofounder of the Rinpa school, which favored traditional Japanese subjects, such as gardens, cranes, the four seasons, and references to Heian-period poetry, while incorporating shimmering metallic backgrounds, bold colors, and images intersecting with calligraphic text.
In a twenty-first-century echo of Sōtatsu’s aesthetic innovations, Fischer merges traditional art historical themes with new technologies. The painting is handmade on a digital substrate, then silkscreened onto aluminum panels. Instead of a direct translation from tablet screen to paper surface, Fischer’s process imbues the digital image with an analog tactility; in some places, his painterly gestures loosen, revealing patches of the shiny aluminum beneath. The image unfolds in succession, starting with a view of a room in Fischer’s home. Furniture, books, and artwork are illuminated by both natural and artificial light, and as the room continues to disintegrate, objects appear and dissolve across the nine large panels, concluding with an exterior view: two birds flying in a sky that is at once stormy and clear.
Freezing gesture through digital means, Fischer considers the changing implications of touch in an increasingly disembodied world, where images are created and repeated at the click of a button. Transforming his own gestures into temporal worlds of their own, he suggests that originality can still be carved out from within the exponentially growing realm of the digital image.
Fischer’s large-scale sculpture Things is on view at 511 Fifth Avenue, New York (entrance at 2 East 43rd Street), from May 15 through June 23.
Urs Fischer was born in Zurich in 1973, and lives and works in New York. Collections include the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Vanhaerents Art Collection, Brussels; FRAC Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur, Marseille; Fondation Carmignac, Paris; Kunstmuseum Basel; Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst, Zurich; and Museo d’arte della Svizzera Italiana, Lugano, Switzerland. Recent institutional exhibitions include the 50th Biennale di Venezia (2003); Kir Royal, Kunsthaus Zürich (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, TX (2006); the 52nd Biennale di Venezia (2007); Marguerite de Ponty, New Museum, New York (2009–10); the 54th Biennale di Venezia (2011); Skinny Sunrise, Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna (2012); Madame Fisscher, Palazzo Grassi, Venice (2012); Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (2013); YES, DESTE Foundation Project Space, Slaughterhouse, Hydra, Greece (2013); Small Axe, Garage Museum of Contemporary Art, Moscow (2016); Mon cher..., Fondation Vincent Van Gogh, Arles, France (2016); and Urs Fischer: The Public & the Private, Legion of Honor Museum, San Francisco (2017).