Gagosian Gallery presents the first exhibition of Urs Fischer’s work in Rome.
Fischer’s large-scale installations and sculptures posit genres traditionally evoked in painting— portraits, landscapes, nudes, and still lifes—in a profusion of rich, often impermanent sculptural materials. Whether utilizing comestibles such as bread or fruit, or other delicate substances such as candle wax, Fischer mines the literal and metaphorical potential of materials to introduce a fourth dimension—time—into the work.
As the title suggests, in Horse / Bed (2013), a horse appears to have fully merged with a hospital bed, whose various parts envelop the animal’s head and legs. The horse stands upright, “wearing” the bed like a harness as though nothing is amiss. Digitally combined from 3D scans of a taxidermied workhorse and a hospital bed, and milled from shiny aluminum, the detail of the sculpture’s impressive materiality provides an overwhelming amount of information to the naked eye.
Problem Paintings—headshots, both stock and purpose-made, colored and enlarged to different scales, then obstructed by silkscreened images—propose a clash of representational systems that is both convulsive and darkly humorous. A central feature of the exhibition, the monumental Problem Painting pairs a woman and an egg; while related works Innocent Problem, Real Problem, and Sloppy Problem (all 2013) introduce other female and male archetypes, similarly obscured by eggs that are either perfectly whole or split open to expose their solid yolks.
A small vase of colorful flowers, carefully positioned in the exhibition, enlivens the room, underscoring Fischer’s ongoing explorations with scale, perception, and art’s relationship to reality.