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Kanalvideo (Canal Video)

Fischli & Weiss (Swiss, active 1979)


Medium video; color, silent; 62 min. Measurements H: 157 7/16 x W: 137 3/4 in. (399.89 x 349.88 cm) Credit A. W. Mellon Acquisition Endowment Fund Accession Number 2005.54 Location Not on View


The Swiss artistic duo Fischli and Weiss practices in a wide range of media—including photography, sculpture, video, film and installation—in an attempt to unearth the beauty and meaning in ordinary things. Using humble means and materials, their humorous and endearing work attempts to infuse a childlike sense of wonder into our everyday lives. For this work, the artists spliced together pre-existing video footage from a survey of underground sewer pipes in their hometown, Zürich. Transported into the space of the gallery and significantly enlarged in proportion to the viewer, this banal footage becomes a visual spectacle. A key aspect of the work hinges on the transformation of its mundane origins into the sublime and universal. The video's "real-time" progression is intended to encourage the viewer to experience the ordinary things we habitually take for granted in a new light; in this case, transfiguring a common sewage drain into a painterly, abstracted psychedelic journey.

Artist Bio

Peter Fischli and David Weiss were both born in Zürich, Switzerland in 1952 and 1946, respectively. Fischli attended the Academia di Belle Arti in Urbino and Bologna, completing his studies in 1977, while Weiss studied at Vorkurs, Kunstgewerbeschule in Zürich from 1963 to 1964 and at Kunstgewerbeschule in Basel from 1964 to 1965. Since 1979, Fischli and Weiss have worked together as a team, exhibiting widely in numerous solo and group exhibitions in museums and galleries around the world, including the 50th Carnegie International in 1988. They have been featured in a wide range of solo exhibitions at museums, including their first retrospective organized by the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis (1996) which traveled to the Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia, PA, the Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, Ohio, the Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, CA, the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boson, MA, and the Kunstmuseum, Wolfsburg, Germany. They have widely shown their work internationally at institutions such as Museu d'Art Contemporani, Barcelona, Spain; the Museu du Arte Contemporânea Fundaçao de Serralves, Porto, Portugal; and the Museo Tamayo, Mexico City, Mexico. They were the featured artists in the Swiss Pavilion at the 1995 Venice Biennale and in 2000, were awarded the Günther-Peill-Preis from the Leopold-Hoesch-Museum in Düren, Germany.