Rising nearly 33 feet from the base, a triumphant embrace of cast aluminum, stainless steel and gold leaf unites two elegant forms that balance each other. The monumental sculpture outside the Museo Jumex in Mexico City directs our gaze up and around its massive presence, radiating vital energy and joy into a world hungry for affinity and meaningful human interaction.
World renowned Swiss-born contemporary visual artist Urs Fischer has created Lovers #2, a monumental in situ sculpture for his first solo exhibition in Latin America, organized by the Museo Jumex with guest curator Francesco Bonami. Housed in the triangular Museum Square in the luxurious Polanco area of the Miguel Hidalgo neighborhood, Lovers #2 complements the building designed by British architect David Chipperfield that stands out among an array of towering commercial structures. Additionally, it highlights and unifies the diversity of 25 years of work borrowing and reimagining pop, surrealism, dada, rococo and conceptualism, which defines Fischer’s oeuvre spanning collage, sculpture, painting and art. large-scale installation.
“This kind of movement of the sculpture on the outside was kind of based on sensual moments…this moment of gold is related to the body,” Fischer explained. “Gold is everything around us, he reflects. …Gold is hyper aware of its surroundings… It has a warmth, which is why we can use it for our teeth. It’s something sensual.”
Love, or ‘lovers’, is the connective tissue that pulls together a vast body of clever work that oscillates between the absurd and the unfeigned. It’s tender and scorching, enveloping and invigorating us through a myriad of emotions that invite us back into a post-lockdown world where we seek to connect with individuals, experiences and objects that truly nurture our psyche.
“I thought maybe the away thing title was a good title for a lot of other things. And that way we just put things together without trying to shape a clear narrative,” Fischer told me in an interview last Thursday, after a press conference and a tour of the airy, expansive galleries. “It’s nice to put something new that also connects here.”
The superb exhibition is on view until September 18, and the colossal Lovers #2 will remain outside the Museo Jumex for a year, Fischer said.
” Everything is in the title. Lovers is an exhibition about caring for each other, caring for people and loving all forms,” said Bonami, a renowned freelance curator who has collaborated with Fischer on group exhibitions in Europe since 1996. “I think… Mexico City is the first city in the world to have a monument dedicated to love and it’s a monument that no matter how things go, it can’t be undone. How’s the story going, love is still part of the story… you can’t take it away because it’s still contemporary, it’s still about life and relating to people.
One of the smallest works, Hazelnut (2009), delivers the greatest impact, eliciting high-pitched laughter and squeals. A motion sensor detects when you walk past a conspicuous hole in the wall, and an electric motor dispenses a lifelike silicone human tongue.
We return to a prodigious scale, passing to the focal point of the first floor gallery with Things (2017), encircling 125¼-inch by 204⅜-inch by 118½-inch milled aluminum, steel, powerful magnets, and two-component epoxy adhesive rhinoceros that transmits motion while attracting a discordant assemblage of personal everyday elements, domestic, and office objects. A Louis Vuitton handbag, a photocopier, a car door, a vacuum cleaner, a shovel, a bicycle helmet, a toilet, a bucket, a high-heeled boot, a car tire, a lawnmower, a pillow bag, a chair, a stool, a Nike trainer, a cinder block, a bag of crisps, a miniature kangaroo and her baby, a laptop computer and a table, cross the rhino, defying gravity. The life-size rhinoceros, born from a 3D scan of a stuffed animal, coexists with the bizarre mix, reinforcing the underlying unity essential to love.
Fischer’s fluidity across mediums and genres is emblematic of the loving embrace he evokes, working with clay, steel, wax, bread, earth, vegetables or fruits, his work questions the way we perceive and react to our environment and our encounters.
We must make space, dutifully lowering our heads as we intentionally search for space to cross Melody (2019), plaster, water-based polyurethane paint, stainless steel, and pastel-colored, grayscale nylon filament raindrops meticulously suspended from the ceiling and occupying the majority of the gallery from the second floor. Our cautious navigation gives pause, defying what we see. My 11-year-old son Michael Alexander observed how the raindrops allude to meteorites, the otherworldly feel suspended as we look down to spy a pair of mechanical snails on the ground. May be (2019), consisting of motors, gears, aluminum, battery, brass, silicone, magnets, two-component urethane casting resin, acrylic paint, xanthan gum, gum arabic and ethanol, simulates the natural movement of snails in waves of contraction and expansion, using one foot that carefully extends, then pulls the rest of its body forward.
Upon entering the gallery on the third floor, we are greeted by Hazelnut, welcoming us into a landscape of sculptures and paintings made over more than 25 years, revealing the evolution and self-referential nature of Fischer’s creative process. We travel through history, recalling the ready-mades of Marcel Duchamp while strolling in the present you can’t win (2003), a chair precariously erected by its hind legs and a massive cigarette lighter married with polystyrene, acrylic paint, Aqua-Resin, screws and fiberglass, which Fischer revisited for his new exploration of the NFT (non-fungible token).
“It’s about us, like how you relate to yourself and how you relate to others,” Fischer said of the exhibit.