From April 2 through September 18, Museo Jumex (Mexico City) will present Urs Fischer: Lovers, a 20-year survey of one of the most internationally celebrated artists working today and the artist’s first solo show in Latin America. Organized by Museo Jumex with guest curator Francesco Bonami, Urs Fischer: Lovers brings together new pieces made for the museum with works from international public and private collections as well as the artist’s own archive. Together, the works exhibit the wide-ranging creativity, humor, and depth of the artist’s practice
Created specifically for Museo Jumex, The Lovers #2 is a 10-meter-high monumental sculpture made of cast aluminum, stainless steel, and gold leaf, showing two forms meeting, one balanced on top of the other. Installed on the museum’s plaza, the sculpture sits in dialogue with the museum’s architecture designed by David Chipperfield and engages viewers in a play on multiple art historical references that are recurrent themes in Fischer’s practice.
The exhibition will also feature some of the artist’s signature pieces. Two new life-sized portraits cast as candles will be presented, including one of philanthropist, visionary, and Fundación Jumex Arte Contemporáneo President Eugenio López Alonso. The candle portraits will burn over the course of the exhibition, marking the unavoidable passage of time.
Lovers is installed thematically, with each floor of the exhibition offering the viewer a distinct experience, creating shifts in emotion and perception and encouraging both a focused and detached gaze.
“Lovers is a beautiful hymn to the energy of life. To the forces that shape it and that consume it. To the feelings, the emotions and the fears that make life in general, no matter what, a wonderful adventure, a play, or a game with its winners and losers,” Bonami said. “The goal of this show is to be beautiful, experiential and exciting to watch, a game for the kids in the park to play while the grownups have fun on the side as they watch.”
What’s on View
In the third floor gallery, a landscape is created by a variety of sculptures and paintings that have been produced over more than 25 years. The cacophony of styles, messages, scales, and relationships offers viewers a look at Fischer’s early creative process, revealing his fascination with both the ideas of play and existentialism.
A mirror cat sits in the middle of a roughly built hall of mirrors (Dr. Katzelberg (Zivilisationsruine), 1999. Devoted to details rather than spectacular works, Fischer encourages viewers to shift their gaze from small works—a mechanical tongue sticking out from a wall (Noisette, 2009)—to larger sculptures, such as a bed crushed under a pile of concrete (Kratz, 2011).
Works that appear as sleight of hand, such as a toilet bowl filled with fresh fruit (Untitled, 2015), reference Duchamps’s ready-mades. A broom lifted by a balloon (A Place Called Novosibirsk, 2004), a butterfly resting on a fresh croissant (Nickname, 2009), a painting done moving a finger on the screen of an iPad (Shelf, 2019) highlight how Fischer’s work is a dialogue between simplicity and complexity. A chair and a cigarette lighter grafted to each other (You Can Not Win, 2003) is an image that the artist has returned to recently in his exploration of the new digital world of NFT art.
The second floor returns to the Rococo. A large installation of raindrops (Melody, 2019) occupies most of the gallery. A pair of mechanical snails (Maybe, 2019) slowly slide around the space and a haunted wooden door (Untitled (Door), 2006) adds a fairytale mood to the experience.
On the first floor, an aluminum rhinoceros bombarded by a myriad of objects (Things, 2017) is the centerpiece. The life-size figure of a rhinoceros represents human history—grounded yet sustaining the aggression and consumerism, a monument to permanence and consumption, entropy, and gravity. In the same gallery, Fischer’s portrait candles will burn continuously. Seen through the gallery window, another skeleton (Invisible Mother, 2015) serves as a reminder that not everything disappears after we cross the threshold to another world.
City Wide Advertisement Campaign
The exhibition will extend throughout Mexico City through an advertising campaign designed by Urs Fischer. From billboards to bus stops, as welll as in the pages of the city’s most notable magazines, advertisements will feature newly created drawings that reflect playful themes and bring the artist’s work directly to the public.
Based in New York City, Urs Fischer began his career in Switzerland, where he studied photography at the Schule für Gestaltung, Zurich. He began showing his works in the mid-1990s in Europe.
Fischer’s first solo exhibition in an American museum was Urs Fischer: Marguerite de Ponty, exhibited across three floors of the New Museum in New York, in 2009. The exhibition, curated by the artist, featured immersive installations and hallucinatory environments.
At the Venice Biennale in 2011, he presented a wax copy of Giambologna’s late-16th-century sculpture Rape of the Sabine Women, a monumental candle that was lit and slowly melted over the course of the event.
In 2012, Fischer was the first living artist to have a monographic exhibition at the Palazzo Grassi, where his London studio was restaged and included a survey of models, sketches, notes, furnishings, and works of art. In 2013, a large-scale retrospective at Los Angeles’ MOCA spanned both of the museum’s locations—The Geffen Contemporary and MOCA Grand Avenue—and included physical interventions such as You (2007), for which the artist cut huge holes out of the museum wall.
His works are included in the collections of The Museum of Modern Art and the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, the Rubell Family Collection in Miami, and the Colección Jumex in Mexico City.
Museo Jumex, Fundación Jumex Arte Contemporáneo’s main platform, opened its doors to the public in November 2013 as an institution devoted to contemporary art. Its aim is not only to serve a broad and diverse public, but also to be a laboratory for experimentation and innovation in the arts.
Through its exhibitions, publications, research, and public programs, Museo Jumex familiarizes audiences with the concepts and contexts that inform current art practice. Through the use of critical and pedagogical tools, the museum’s educational programs further the institution’s commitment to build links between contemporary art and the public.