Tag Archives: world art classics

‘The Way Things Go’ is World Art Classic #463


The Way Things Go by Peter Fischli & David Weiss is World Art Classic #463.

Peter Fischli & David Weiss’s work is unclassifiable. Which is a good thing. Yet despite this quality of being genre-defying, their work is defined by playfulness and humor absent from 90% of contemporary art.

I rather enjoy wit and humor in art.

The absence thereof, seriousness, is, in my view, one of the faultlines in 20th century art. Modernism, for example, was reigned by a detrimental “cult of seriousness”.

I first realized my predilection for humor in art somewhere around 2006, when I saw the painting ‘Man weeping, his tears form a waterfall‘.

The humor of Peter Fischli & David Weiss reminds me obliquely of that of The Chapman Brothers, minus the Chapman’s fondness for painfullness.

I’ve recently canonized Fischli and Weiss.

As I said in the title of this post, The Way Things Go is ‘World Art Classic’ #463. Its alphabetical neighbors are The Unswept Floor, a second century AD mosaic and The Witch by Salvator Rosa.

World Art Classic #462

I’ve always had mixed feelings about the work and person of Marina Abramović, but yesterday, while leafing through a book titled Love I stumbled upon a photo of Rest Energy, a 1980 performance piece by Marina and Ulay.

I was immediately taken by it.

I’d seen it before, but had forgotten about it.

I do think it works better as a photo than as a film.

It is World Art Classic #193.

In praise of land art


As I wrote in a post 10 months ago in a post over at Tumblr[1], there once was an artist who:

“had a garden. And every day, maybe several times a day, that artist walked a certain marked path in his garden, until the soles of his shoes had flattened the grass and eroded a path. I guess he then took a photo of his garden with its newly formed path. Maybe he sold the photos.”

Yesterday, I find out the name of this mysterious land artist, of which I had been ignorant for more than 20 years. It is a certain Richard Long (born 1945) and instead of my imagined curved geoglyph, he walked a straight line.

Richard Long first came to the attention of the art world with A Line Made by Walking in 1967 — three years before the iconic Spiral Jetty — and repeated the exercise in 1972 on a much larger scale and with more efficiency in Peru.

Where in Peru this was, I have been unable to find out, I wonder if it’s still there. Maybe it’s not far from When Faith Moves Mountains (2002) by Francis Alÿs.

Illustration: cover of a book on Richard Long‘s A Line Made by Walking by Dieter Roelstraete.

There is another world, but it is in this one

Aquatic plants, seashells and madrepores (Aquatic plants, seashells and madrepores) is a plate from Un autre monde by French illustrator Grandville (1803 – 1847).

The illustration alludes to man copying the patterns of nature, like crystallization and petrifaction.

The title of this post “There is another world, but it is in this one” is attributed both to W. B. Yeats (1865 – 1939) and French poet Paul Éluard (1895 – 1952) (as “Il y a un autre monde mais il est dans celui-ci”).

Previously on Tumblr: Crystallised Minerals by Alexandre Isidore Leroy de Barde.