From December 8, 2001, through March 17, 2002, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) will present an installation of two works by contemporary Swiss artists Beat Streuli and the Swiss duo Peter Fischli and David Weiss in Restaging the Everyday: Recent Work by Beat Streuli and Fischli/Weiss. Organized by Benjamin Weil, SFMOMA curator of media arts, the exhibition raises questions about how the realms of the mundane, the familiar and fine art intersect.
The short video Busi (Kitty), 2001, by Peter Fischli and David Weiss, presents a kitten walking towards the camera and lapping milk out of a saucer. Recently featured in The 59th Minute: Video Art on the Times Square Astrovision by Panasonic, organized by Creative Time, this work revisits a major theme—the banal—in the Swiss duo’s oeuvre. Since the late 1970s, Fischli and Weiss have worked in various formats—photography, video, film, installation and sculpture—to recontextualize the details of daily life. By elevating the average kitten to the monumental arena of artistic exhibition, they build up the viewers’ expectation without delivering, thereby developing a subtly humorous experience of the absurd. SFMOMA owns The Way Things Go, a Fischli/Weiss video that documents an intricate series of chain reactions produced by an elaborate assortment of household items found in their studio.
Beat Streuli’s two-channel slide projection installation Bondi Beach/Paramatta Road, 1999, echoes Fischli and Weiss’s fixation with the mundane. In this piece, Streuli uses the camera as a surveillance tool to capture scenes from the surroundings of one of the most popular beaches in Sydney, Australia. Projected directly onto the gallery wall, one enlarged image of daily activity slowly dissolves into the next, walking the boundary between still photograph and motion picture. The viewer hovers on the edge of two mediums and is made poignantly aware of the contrast between the scenes of work and leisure.
Please note: Restaging the Everyday: Recent Work by Beat Streuli and Fischli/Weiss will replace media artist Christian Marclay’s upcoming exhibition, which has been postponed until spring 2002, due to the considerable damage his Manhattan studio sustained on September 11.