To celebrate the first anniversary of Garage’s move into its permanent home, Urs Fischer has developed Small Axe, an exhibition that responds to the building and its surroundings with spirited lightness and humor. Creating a series of installations that play with scale and sensory perception, the Swiss-born artist invites audiences to experience the Museum from a new perspective.
Occupying the Central Gallery, the installation includes more than twenty bronze hand-painted sculptures produced especially for the show. Small in scale, each captures a transient moment—from a wilted tulip in a vase to a rat playing a grand piano—populating the gallery with flights of fantasy in physical forms that provide an antidote to the austerity and grandeur of the Soviet Modernist architecture. Further asserting the desire to introduce fluidity and immediacy into the Museum, larger works include a life-size candle sculpture that captures an affectionate moment between a seated couple, which will be lit each day and gradually melt over the course of the exhibition, and a 9-meter-long gestural line that visitors can walk under and around, which is a greatly magnified sculptural version of a hand-drawn doodle. Just as a quickly drawn line becomes an architectural form in Fischer’s installation, gestural brushstrokes become animate in his recent paintings, which also play with space and scale. In these, the artist has painted over snapshots taken in his garden in Los Angeles and then greatly enlarged the results, to create paintings that fictionalize both the original landscapes and the brushstrokes into commanding yet approachable artifice.