“The raven is smoking. The raven smokes all night. It smokes and smokes and smokes,” trumpets Andreas Fischer’s kinetic sculpture Rabenrohr (Raven’s Mouthpiece) while it knocks impatiently on the floor and moves on the spot. Rabenrohr
The Museum Ludwig surveys Fischer’s mechanical works in the exhibition Your Time Is My Rolex. The artist, who was born in 1972, uses motors and microprocessors in combination with found materials and objects, including armchairs and workmen’s tools, to construct sculptures that move and speak. Depriving the components of their original purpose, he incorporates them into new contexts that grant them a different, narrative significance. In the form of humorous mechanical parodies of human beings, the apparatuses act, complain, and accuse, obsessively telling fruitless existential tales or engaging in futile dialogues repeated ad nauseam. The machines repeat their motions and routines in endless loops, never breaking through into something different, and constantly reiterate their words, whether in soliloquies or dialogues, without reaching a meaningful conclusion. Wirds Bald (Get a Move-On) blares out the words “It’ll get better, it won’t get better,” as a shooting apparatus repeatedly takes aim at an unidentifiable target but always jams before firing. Embodied in a machine, the all-too-human nature of the scenario has an unsettling effect on the spectator, generated by an apparent determinism that, through repetition, arouses a desire to break out of the vicious circle.
At first sight Fischer’s work is about automation and mechanization. But at a deeper level his machine sculptures address sociopolitical and personal patterns of behavior and thought. They do not satisfy a need to marvel at extreme deformations of nature wrought by human hands. Neither do they seek to promote, though their mechanical inner life, a critical or utopian view of the relationship between humankind and the machine world. Instead, their central concern is with physical and psychological constraints, with cultural and social norms defined as integral to psychological and social stability, but also identified as a source of social and personal conflict. The machines fulfill their mission unceasingly—for machines must work, and they must carry on working, even if not in the way intended. The exhibition is curated by Jasmina Merz. It is accompanied by the catalogue Andreas Fischer: In der Wolle.
Exhibition Curator: Jasmina Merz