The Way Things Go

Screenshot from video that shows part of the Rube Goldberg-type machine. This section is a balloon getting blown up, which when popping, will overturn a gas container filled with liquid.

Peter Fischli and David Weiss, The Way Things Go [Der Lauf Der Dinge], 1987, DVD, originally shot on 16 mm film, 29 minutes, 45 seconds. Courtesy Elayne Mordes

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Last Exhibit Entry at 5:30 pm.
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Peter Fischli and David Weiss worked together for decades until the death of Weiss in 2012. For their first collaboration in 1979, the artists transformed a bathroom shelf into a runway for fashionably dressed sausages. This installation was the first in a long career of witty interventions. Between 1984 and 1987, they produced the series titled Equilibres (A Quiet Afternoon), a group of tenuously arranged assemblages made with common household tools, food, and other random objects. These works exist solely in the series of photographs taken before their inevitable collapse.  While creating the Equilibres series, the artists became fascinated with impending chaos and led to the creation of The Way Things Go.

In 1985 Fischli and Weiss began to stage scenes of causal activity using items like tires, balloons, ladders, and fireworks. Through hours of trial and error, they composed cinematic sequences in which objects careen into one another, light each other on fire, and fly from place to place in an endlessly unraveling chain reaction. The objects appear to move of their own volition but in fact, the continual movement is an illusion. The video that was on display at the Boca Museum comprised nearly two dozen separate shots filmed over a period of two years. The audio effects were added in postproduction and the artists’ presence was masked by edits.

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