The machine perpetuates its binary beat.
—Federico García Lorca, “Ode to Salvador Dalí” (1926)
Play is the origin of fiction.
Gagosian presents PLAY, conceived by Urs Fischer with choreography by Madeline Hollander.
At the intersection of sculpture, behavior, and choreography, PLAY is an arena of chance encounters where visitors are invited to interact with nine office chairs that seem to have lives of their own.
Play, a ritual older than humankind, has set rules that distinguish it from reality, but it has no clear aim or value other than itself.
Instead, it is merely a feedback loop, a push/pull of energy, bound by time and place. Accordingly, the chairs seem to behave in such ways as to belie some level of predictability—only to then debunk the illusion.
The more the viewer seeks to control the chairs, the clearer it becomes that they are not pawns or pets but participants. By attempting to understand the choreography, we actually create it, enacting the very patterns that we wish to decode.
Urs Fischer was born in Zurich in 1973 and lives and works in New York. Collections include the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Vanhaerents Art Collection, Brussels; FRAC-Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur, Marseille, France; Fondation Carmignac, Paris; Kunstmuseum Basel, Switzerland; Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst, Zurich; and Museo d’arte della Svizzera Italiana, Lugano, Switzerland. Recent institutional exhibitions include Kir Royal, Kunsthaus Zürich (2004); Not My House Not My Fire, Centre Pompidou, Paris (2004); Mary Poppins, Blaffer Gallery, Art Museum of the University of Houston, TX (2006); 52nd Biennale di Venezia, Italy (2007); Marguerite de Ponty, New Museum, New York (2009–10); 54th Biennale di Venezia, Venice (2011); Skinny Sunrise, Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna (2012); Madame Fisscher, Palazzo Grassi, Venice (2012); Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (2013); YES, DESTE Foundation, Project Space, Slaughterhouse, Hydra, Greece (2013); Small Axe, Garage Museum of Contemporary Art, Moscow (2016); Mon cher…, Fondation Vincent Van Gogh, Arles, France (2016); and Urs Fischer: The Public & the Private, Legion of Honor, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco (2017).
Madeline Hollander is a New York–based artist and choreographer who works with performance and video to explore how human movement and body language negotiate their limits within everyday systems of technology, intellectual property law, and pop culture. Recent performances and installations include Gesture Archive: BASE, Human Resources, Los Angeles (2013); Illegal Motion, SculptureCenter, Long Island City, NY (2015); MILE, Untitled Art Fair, Miami (2015); Heimlich, Movement Research at Judson Church, New York (2016); st, nd, rd, th, th, th…, Socrates Sculpture Park, Long Island City, NY (2017); ARENA, Beach Sessions 2017, Rockaway Beach, NY (2017); New Max, The Artist’s Institute, New York (2018); and Lunar Intervals, Swiss Institute, New York (2018). Hollander has danced professionally with the Los Angeles Ballet and the Barcelona Ballet, Spain.all images © the gallery and the artist(s)