For more than thirty years Peter Fischli and David Weiss collaborated on a body of work that combines, rearranges, or otherwise manipulates the mundane into something new and unexpected. Executed in a variety of media, including unfired clay, carved and painted polyurethane, photography, and video, their work playfully ignores the distinction between art and everything else. The duo is perhaps best known for their 1987 film The Way Things Go, in which a Rube Goldberg-like chain of events starring household objects and detritus unfolds in their studio, transforming these humble materials into something remarkable.
In their first collaborative work, Wursterie (Sausage Series, 1979), Fischli and Weiss transformed a bathroom shelf into a runway for fashionably attired sausages, and an unmade bed into an Alpine landscape. For Polyurethane Objects, begun in 1982, they used the same material Hollywood propmakers do to make meticulously carved and painted replicas of ordinary objects (a paint roller, a bottle of bleach, a few stray M&Ms, a cardboard box). Visible World (1986–2012) is a quasi-encyclopedic view of natural and built landscapes, from the commonplace to the extraordinary, made up of thousands of photographs made around the world by Fischli and Weiss over twenty-five years of travel.
The work of Peter Fischli (b. 1952) and David Weiss (1946–2012) has been the subject of large-scale surveys at numerous museums across Europe and North America, most recently in 2016 at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York and the Museo Jumex in Mexico City. Their work has been featured in Documenta, Skulptur Projekte Münster, and six Venice Biennales, where they represented Switzerland in 1995 and were awarded the Golden Lion in 2003 for their installation Questions (1981–2002). Peter Fischli lives and works in Zurich.