LUTZ & GUGGISBERG
Andres Lutz, also cabaret artist, and Anders Guggisberg, musician, have worked together as an artistic duo since 1996, creating a wide variety of works. Their repertoire includes not only paintings, sculptures, installations, video and photography, but also performances and their constantly growing fake library. Based in Zurich, Lutz & Guggisberg are rooted in the tradition of Dadaism, which was invented in the city, and the work of another famous Zurich artistic duo, Fischli/Weiss.
Their exhibition at Mudam consists of a combination of more recent works which are assembled into a complex composite ensemble enclosed by a wall painting which embraces the whole room and resists the orderliness of the typical museum white cube concept. Full of irony and cryptic humour, the works of Lutz & Guggisberg contain an abundance of subtle references to art, literature and science and present themselves as a loose but not always coherent narrative. They are usually created with simple means and offer an element of surprise which often makes your laughter stick in your throat. The tension between nature and culture, between naturalness and artificiality and the associated clichés are recurring motifs in their works.
Here, the wall painting sets the scene for an artificial landscape. It is populated by strange creatures such as a flock of egg-shaped plaster sculptures which creep along the wall. This ironic paraphrase of modern sculpture is then taken up by a large wooden loop hovering in the room without a pedestal, taking the gaze of the beholder on a roller-coaster ride. Industrious ikebana ants march in procession through the room, and a row of artificial trees made of pieces of wood and broomsticks seem to be waiting for spring. The large glass leaning against the wall acts like a sand image providing views of a surprising landscape made up of dust and rubbish from an artist's studio. Equally confusing, although completely different in their technical configuration, are the hard-to-focus photolithographies of the Stumps, with their mirror effect which seems to anticipate the title of the other series of photographs. In Hole in the Mirror, the beholder passes through visual wormholes into an absurd and laconic wonderland with a multi-layered ironic undertone which admirablyrepresents the perspective of the artists. The videos also teeter precariously on the boundaries between perception and absurdity. The protagonists make serious efforts to achieve their goals, whether as the hardly visible Man in the Snow, as Möckli or as a Caver who takes us in the depths of the picture archive. And finally, Galaxy Evolution Melody uses an ironically fragmented form of the classical triptych to reflect the formal severity in the development of modernist abstraction.
The works of Lutz & Guggisberg are full of weird humour in both content and form, but in spite of their apparent anarchy, they are in fact precisely designed and choreographed. Their mischievous thoughtfulness makes their work easy to look at, but at the same time it encourages the beholder to move into deeper layers of meaning. Humour is not an obstacle to gaining new insight.
Andres Lutz, born in 1968 in Wettingen (Switzerland), and Anders Guggisberg, born in 1966 in Biel (Switzerland), live and work in Zurich.
All the exhibition photos on flickr