In the outdoor plaza of Mexico City’s Museo Jumex visitors are currently greeted by The Lovers #2, a new, monumental, 32-foot-tall (10-meter-tall) sculpture by Swiss artist Urs Fischer. Made of cast aluminum, stainless steel, and gold leaf, the work features two shapes that balance gently on one another, seeming to defy gravity as they embrace in the air. Fischer describes the piece as an “emulsifier” that communicates with the museum’s architecture and its title became the inspiration for his current show there—also called “Lovers”—his first major exhibition in Latin America, on view through September 18.
“Lovers became more of a central idea than an exact theme,” says Fischer whose solo show spans over 20 years of his oeuvre with paintings and sculptures from both public and private collections, as well as new works created specifically for the museum. “Sometimes exhibition titles can be pointless because you’ll never do justice to all of the different things that are in a show. But I realized that love in some form actually comes up a lot in my work.” He adds that love is not necessarily about intimacy but rather about connections between people and a “commitment and openness to engaging”.
Indeed, the whole show comes together like an invitation to engage, interact and play. In one work, Noisette, (2009), a life-like tongue sticks out from a hole in the wall. In another, Love Life (2019), a floating pink balloon is kept grounded by a pear sculpture. Nearby, a purple piano appears to slowly meltdown to the floor.
Guest curator Francesco Bonami arranged the exhibition thematically rather than chronologically, allowing visitors to view works from different points in Fischer’s career. Like diving into the artist’s catalog raisonné, the museum’s third floor contains dozens of paintings and sculptures that interact with each other. Fischer described the arrangement as a “buffet of things,” adding, “the exhibition is like a story. There are a ton of small things to look at and you are invited to wander. There’s this whole journey that happens and no one path to experience it.”
Included in the show is Melody, Fischer’s immersive installation of 6,000 plaster raindrops painted in a spectrum of colors and suspended from the ceiling. Adding a twist of humor to the same gallery room, realistic, motorized snails move slowly across the floor.
The exhibition also features new candle portraits, a concept that Fischer has become known for. One of the new candles, which will slowly burn throughout the course of the exhibition, represents Eugenio López Alonso, president of Fundación Jumex Arte Contemporáneo.
“Lovers” was intended to open pre-pandemic, but Fischer views the delay in a positive light. “It’s a nice moment to have this show at the end of everything that happened over the last two years. It might sound flat, but it’s nice to have a bit of joy,” he explains. “There are so many young people in Mexico City and everyone seems like they’re having a good time. It’s nice to see people come out and just enjoy being here.”