Urs Fischer
Faules Fundament (Rotten Foundation)
August 16–September 10, 2017

188 E 2nd Street
New York, NY 10009

On top of potatoes, onions, carrots, apples, oranges, lemons, lettuce, mushrooms, and berries sits an approximately seven-foot tall brick and mortar wall. Its foundation of fruits and vegetables is in a constant state of flux. They are beautiful, luscious and colorful in the beginning, still ripe, resembling a garden—the garden of Eden—where it all began. But, they will decay. First, they start to smell—some more powerfully than others—and their colors change. Mold grows. As they begin to rot, their shape and substance transform too and the precariousness of the wall becomes more and more apparent. Nature has the upper hand. Its brute, downward-dragging, corroding, crumbling power produces a new form, possibly a degraded mess.

The natural world is subject to erosion. Organic material has a natural lifespan and it gives us an understanding of mortality and ruin. Brick and mortar, like in the fable of the three little pigs, is understood to be durable and resilient—wolf-proof.

This wall—haphazardly and looking partially built—resembles something which could have been part of a larger structure, thousands of years old and partially collapsed. But it is simply irregularly built, without the use of measuring or leveling tools. Its future is prescribed at its outset as it is already in ruins.
Faules Fundament (Rotten Foundation), 1998/2017, illustrates labor, transformation, entropy, order and chaos as its materials alternate between stable and fresh to crumbling and rotting. Its inherent process of organic decay is a kind of built-in destruction. It’s built to spill. Built to come down, like everything that goes up.

This work has previously been exhibited at De Ateliers, Amsterdam (1998) and Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst, Zurich (1998). It is being shown for the first time in the US.