Urs Fischer

Urs Fischer
Jesse Frohman

Urs Fischer created a nomadic sculpture for Station to Station.

New York–based Swiss artist Urs Fischer makes work that is both encyclopedic and pretty damn particular. It ranges almost schizophrenically through media, styles, materials and scale. A house built of bread. Life-size candles shaped like female nudes, melting away over the course of an exhibition. A motion activated tongue, poking through the wall, wagging at every passerby. Or a cavernous hole dug through the floor of a gallery.

All of these and more have come from Fischer’s bag of tricks.

And yet his art — fascinating, unsettling, at times grotesque — is always unmistakably his own, unified by his interest in the unsettling, unnerving, unpredictable and the oddly humorous. Fischer comes out of the lineage of Dada, Surrealism and such high-minded pranksters as Martin Kippenberger, Dieter Roth and Sigmar Polke. It’s a noble tradition: Everyone laughs a little and then furtively glances around to see who the joke is on.