On view—Urs Fischer at Karma, NYC

AUGUST 17, 2017

“Urs Fischer: Faules Fundament (Rotten Foundation)” is now on view at Karma, New York through September 10, 2017.
Image: Urs Fischer, Faules Fundament (Rotten Foundation), 1998, bricks, mortar, fruits, and vegetables, dimensions variable © Urs Fischer. Courtesy the artist, photo by Stefan Altenburger.

Streaming live on Facebook @ 4 pm EST: assistant curator Jennie Goldstein updates us on Standing Julian’s progress (spoiler alert: his head is no longer attached!).

The 8-foot tall, 1000 pound portrait by Urs Fischer of friend and fellow artist Julian Schnabel is also a giant candle. The sculpture has been lit daily since April 2016—and its last lighting is happening this Sunday

[Urs Fischer, Standing Julian, 2015. Wax, pigment, steel, and wicks, dimensions variable. Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Gift of an anonymous donor. © Urs Fischer. Photograph by Filip Wolak]

On top of potatoes, onions, carrots, apples, oranges, lemons, lettuce, mushrooms and berries sits an approximately seven-foot tall brick and mortar wall. Its foundation of fruits and vegetables is in a constant state of flux. They are beautiful, luscious and colorful in the beginning, still ripe, resembling a garden—the garden of eden—where it all began. But, they will decay. First they start to smell—some more powerfully than others—and their colors change. Mold grows. As they begin to rot, their shape and substance transforms too and the precariousness of the wall becomes more and more apparent. Nature has the upper hand. Its brute, downward-dragging, corroding, crumbling power produces a new form, possibly a degraded mess.

The natural world is subject to erosion. Organic material has a natural life span and it gives us an understanding of mortality and ruin. Brick and mortar, like in the fable of the three little pigs, is understood to be durable and resilient—wolf-proof.

This wall—haphazardly and looking partially built—resembles something which could have been part of a larger structure, thousands of years old and partially collapsed. But it is simply irregularly built, without the use of measuring or leveling tools. It’s future is prescribed at it’s outset as it is already in ruins.

Faules Fundament (Rotten Foundation), 1998/2017 illustrates labor, transformation, entropy, order and chaos as its materials alternate between stable and fresh to crumbling and rotting. Its inherent process of organic decay is a kind of built-in destruction. It’s built to spill. Built to come down, like everything that goes up.

This work has previously been exhibited at De Ateliers, Amsterdam (1998) and Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst, Zurich (1998). It is being shown for the first time in the US.