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Urs Fischer talks to Ben Luke about his influences—from writers to musicians, film-makers and, of course, other artists—and the cultural experiences that have shaped his life and work.
Born in 1973 in Zurich, Switzerland, Fischer makes work across multiple disciplines and media that defies categorisation. Whether he is working in photography, painting, drawing, sculpture or installation, he often upends the given characteristics of his medium. His art is in a state of constant transformation, being pushed and pulled in unexpected directions, often with a pronounced absurdity and always with a distinctive impact.
He reflects on the experience of curating an exhibition of John Chamberlain’s work for Aspen Art Museum and how, if at all, it has affected his own practice. He discusses his early interest in Hieronymus Bosch and Pieter Brueghel, why he recreated Giambologna’s Abduction of the Sabine Women (1579-83) in the form of a candle, and Rodin’s The Kiss (1882) from plasticine. He talks about Headz, the jazz and drawing workshop-cum-venue he created with Spencer Sweeney, and his experience of watching several movies in a single day. And he answers our usual questions, including the ultimate: what is art for?
• John Chamberlain: The Tighter They’re Wound, The Harder They Unravel, curated by Urs Fischer, is at the Aspen Art Museum, Aspen, US, 15 December-7 April 2024.
This podcast is sponsored by Bloomberg Connects, the arts and culture app.
The free app offers access to a vast range of international cultural organisations through a single download, with new guides being added regularly. They include the Aspen Art Museum, where Urs Fischer is curating an exhibition of the work of the sculptor John Chamberlain (15 December-7 April 2024). If you download the guide to the museum, you can find a feature on the Chamberlain exhibition, as well as a section on the exhibition series called A Lover’s Discourse, in which an emerging artist chooses to juxtapose their works with those of an influential figure. The next artist to feature, from 14 December 2023, is Issy Wood, whose paintings will be displayed alongside a canvas by Fernando Botero.