David Weiss – Works, 1968-1979
Swiss Institute, New York
David Weiss (1946-2012) was world-renowned for his sculptural, photographic and video work, made as Fischli/Weiss in collaboration with Peter Fischli beginning in 1979. This exhibition focuses on the lesser-known solo career of David Weiss, made prior to his ongoing collaboration, and is comprised of an exceptional group of works on paper from 1968-1979, previously exhibited at the Bündner Kunstmuseum in Chur, Switzerland in Spring 2014. David Weiss: Works, 1968-1979 at Swiss Institute will also include additional, never-before-seen material from the artist’s archive that provides unprecedented insight into his formative years.
Though set aside and virtually unknown to the public for over 30 years, in the months before his death in 2012, Weiss began to organize his notebooks, sketchbooks, and early works on paper, culminating in this exhibition and the posthumous publication of Nine Books 1973-1979 by Edition Patrick Frey. Weiss wrote: “At first we were part of a small Bohemian scene. In 1968 we suddenly were part of a movement that included larger groups of society. I felt I was part of it, I became committed, I read a great deal, stayed awake and wanted to see life.” His embrace of the rapid political and cultural shifts observed both in Zürich and through his extensive travels to the United States is reflected back in the incisive references and trenchant aesthetic of the exhibition.
The rarely seen works gathered at Swiss Institute conjure up cartoonish imagery, abstract compositions and cinematic cityscapes, signaling some of the subsequent artistic innovations of Fischli/Weiss’s celebrated oeuvre, which will be shown in a major retrospective at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in Spring 2016. A unique occasion to explore the genesis of the prolific and irreverent vocabulary of one of contemporary art’s most influential figures, this exhibition further presents key elements of an artistic legacy that appear as fresh today as they did when first exhibited.