Beginning on April 28, 2016, the DESTE Foundation and the Museum of Art and History of Geneva, with the collaboration of ART for The World, will present the exhibition “Urs Fischer – False Friends” at the Museum of Art and History in Geneva, thus celebrating DESTE’s 33rd anniversary in the very city it was founded in 1983.
False Friends brings together a selection of works from the Dakis Joannou Collection. Conceived by curator Massimilano Gioni as an unusual synthesis between a solo show and a group exhibition, False Friends pairs works by a range of different artists with an ensemble of 20 works by Urs Fischer.
The exhibition title suggests couplings of works that appear similar but are profoundly different, offering a reading of the Dakis Joannou Collection—and, equally, of contemporary art—as a magnetic field traversed by lines of tension that trace both elective affinities and striking variations.
In False Friends, Fischer’s work is seen alongside sculptures and paintings by artists such as Pawel Althamer, Maurizio Cattelan, Fischli and Weiss, Robert Gober, Martin Kippenberger, Jeff Koons, Paul McCarthy, Cindy Sherman and Kiki Smith, all of whom engage with fundamental themes in the history of art—the representation of the human body, the transformative power of materials, and the virtues of subtle observations.
Sympathetic relationships and dramatic dissonances resonate as unlikely dialogues throughout the exhibition, resulting in a cacophonic concerto of forms and interpretations that run both with and against convention.
The work of Urs Fischer, one of the most innovative Swiss artists of his generation, is central to False Friends. Fischer celebrates metamorphosis and change through works that reveal a particular attention to process and time. Coupling the legacy of Pop art with a neo-baroque taste for the absurd, Fischer’s creative universe trembles under the forces of entropy, decay and failure. With materials both organic and durable—from wax and bread to aluminum and bronze—Fischer’s work invites a complex reflection on the function of monuments and the frailty of life, a meditation that becomes even more peculiar when observed in the grand spaces of Geneva’s Museum of Art and History.
Establishing unexpected connections between artworks and aesthetics, methods and materials, False Friends traces similarities and differences among a group of artists whose work has animated and sustained critical debates in contemporary art throughout the past thirty years.