Where banality and beauty, the everyday and the extraordinary meet
Over 3000 colour pictures arranged in rows and groups on a thirty-meter-long light table. One of the recent versions of Visible World (Sichtbare Welt) (2000-2010) in a nutshell (other versions include a single-screen format, a three-monitor video installation, and a book).This work presents an archive of photographs taken over the course of fifteen years by the Swiss artist duo Peter Fischli (1952) and David Weiss (1946-2012) on various travels throughout the world.
Visible World has no explanatory notes or captions accompanying the images. It is purely a pictorial archive of endless sequences of images. This absence or lack of information awakens the public’s desire to identify the different places represented in the pictures. Some can easily be identified as much photographed views and tourist destinations such as the Sphinx and the pyramids of Giza, the gondolas in Venice, the Colosseum in Rome, the Sidney Opera House and the New York skyline. Each frame of every group undergoes slight alterations (i.a. a building can be taken from different angles). Other images show more general topographies as woodland glades, mountain vistas, deserts, airports and sunlit gardens.
Visible World shows an apparently logical succession of similar topographies in different places all over the world but is not linear when looking a bit closer. For example, photos of Berlin are inserted in the sequence of Paris. Since the views match each other, these insertions do not strike us as disruptions.
Traditional systems of values and classifications are questioned while arbitrariness and self-invented classifications predominate. The famous is banalised and the unknown valorised. What we consider as important and what is trivial is rejected. Boundaries between place and commonplace, art and cliché and order and chaos disappear. Visible World interrogates the ground upon which these systems are based, a strategy that is recurrent in the artists’ practice where reappropriating and aestheticising the commonplace is central.