Fischli and Weiss: “The Way Things Go”

September 4, 2006 at 8:31 pm Leave a comment

Peter Fischli and David Weiss, Film still from Der Lauf der Dinge (The Way Things Go), 1986; A film about a chain reaction

Peter Fischli and David Weiss have been working collaboratively since 1979, attempting to recreate on a human scale the states of order and balance that govern and inspire our lives. Their valiant, delicate, beautifully inept efforts to defy mobility, immobility, and gravity are documented in two photographic series titled Wursterie (Wurst Series) and Stiller Nachmittag (Quiet Afternoon), and their film Der Lauf der Dinge (The Way Things Go).

These artworks record the acrobatic and precarious arrangements of such household items as carrots, cheese graters, tires, clothes baskets, and chairs. The characteristics of these objects dictate their interaction, and signify their interdependency and equality. These characteristics and their visual relationships may be extended to symbolize the networks and systems that make up “ordered and civilized’ society.

Film stills from Der Lauf der Dinge (The Way Things Go), 1986
A film about a chain reaction

Inside a warehouse, a precarious 70-100 feet long structure has been constructed using various items. When this is set in motion, a chain reaction ensues. Fire, water, law of gravity as well as chemistry determine the life-cycle of objects – of things. It brings about a story concerning cause and effect, mechanism and art, improbability and precision.


  • exhibition at the Renaissance Society, Chicago
  • video available at

Entry filed under: artist works.

Sarah Sze Fred Sandback

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