Peter Fischli and David Weiss’ photographic project Sichtbare Welt (Visible World, 1997) is a monumental and fascinating visual feast, yet totally transparent – but do we care?
This disparate collection of images ranges from natural wonders to urban phenomena, and is currently on display at Museo Reina Sofia as part of Playgrounds: a multi-disciplinary group exhibition which analyses the socialising, transgressive and political potential of play within public space.
Artistic duo Fischli and Weiss seek to produce the “ideal picture” – whether this be of cacti, war memorials, quaint villages, manicured gardens or children playing is insignificant, with each picture afforded equal importance.
The work may therefore appear one-sided (beautiful images of beautiful things recorded across the world over fifteen years) but firstly, this is far preferable to the beautiful images of ugly things that contemporary photographers all too often produce; and secondly they do succeed in illuminating the otherwise ordinary, in challenging general perception.
As Arthur C. Danto points out in Peter Fischli and David Weiss: In a Restless World, there is ‘an extraordinary purity in the banal scenes [Fischli and Weiss] favour in their depictions, which are untouched by squalor or obscenity.’ The work is visually pleasing if nothing else, and sometimes that’s just enough.
Visible World, Fischli and Weiss features as part of Playgrounds: Reinventing the Square, open at Museo Reina Sofia, Madrid until 22 Sept ’14.