Peter Fischli unveils Rock On Top Of Another Rock

Artist explains a little about the work at early morning unveiling today at the Serpentine
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Rock on Top of Another Rock, 2012 - Fischli/ Weiss Serpentine Gallery, London copyright Peter Fischli David Weiss Photograph: Morley von Sternberg
Rock on Top of Another Rock, 2012 - Fischli/ Weiss Serpentine Gallery, London copyright Peter Fischli David Weiss Photograph: Morley von Sternberg

Phaidon.com braved an early start to the day in London today to attend the opening of rock on Top of Another Rock by the artists Fishchli/Weiss at the Serpentine. Peter Fischli (David Weiss sadly passed away last April) gave a short address to the assembled crowd during which he spoke about the enjoyment he had travelling around the British countryside to source the rocks for the project and how it was important that "they were seen as just rocks" not sourced from anywhere special or "exotic" as he put it.

Formed of two glacial igneous granite boulders and standing approximately 5.5 metres high on a concrete base, the monumental sculpture will be visible from a number of viewpoints in Kensington Park. It's the duo's first public sculpture in the UK and parallels a similar project in Valdresflya, Norway. The rocks echo the earliest and most basic types of monuments found around the world.

 

Rock on Top of Another Rock, 2012 - Fischli/ Weiss Serpentine Gallery, London copyright Peter Fischli David Weiss Photograph: Morley von Sternberg
Rock on Top of Another Rock, 2012 - Fischli/ Weiss Serpentine Gallery, London copyright Peter Fischli David Weiss Photograph: Morley von Sternberg

"In Norway and here," Fischli said, "to put one rock on top of another rock in the wilderness is the first thing you do if you want to make a mark. When you walk and you want to find your way back... you make this mark. It is a very archaic, simple thing, but it is referencing the [Robert] Venturi duck. We wanted to make something that forces you to stop your car and get out to take a photograph."

Fischli spoke how important it was to him that a park is "a kind of man made wilderness". The London rocks will reside at the spot near the Serpentine Gallery for a year and become, as curator Hans Ulrich Obrist (also present) said, "a meeting place for Londoners."

 

Rock on Top of Another Rock, Rock on Top of Another Rock, Valdresflya - Fischli/ Weiss
Rock on Top of Another Rock, Rock on Top of Another Rock, Valdresflya - Fischli/ Weiss

Rock on Top of Another Rock relates to the artists' 1984 series of photographs, Equilibres/Quiet Afternoon, which show precariously balanced sculptures moments before their collapse. Although our photo doesn't quite show it, the rocks' massive presence also teeters between stability and instability. 

With their deceptively simple gesture, Fischli/Weiss have once again achieved the delicate balancing act (literally in this case) of creating a work that is at once incongruous and startling, and yet entirely in tune with its site - both locally and historically. The artist duo have continuously demonstrated that irony and sincerity could not exist without each other and that, in fact, there is no sincerity like irony. 

The installation was funded by the qatar Museums Authority. After a year it will be transported to Dohar where it will reside forever. If you'd like to learn more about the work of Fischli/ Weiss we have a very, very good book on them in our excellent contemporary artists series.


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