14th September 2022 - 8th January 2023
SWISS INSTITUTE, New York
I love being creative is the first institutional solo show in the United States by Swiss artist Gina Fischli. Much of Fischli’s work invokes issues of desire and entrapment with wry humor, often featuring references to domestic spaces, such as furniture and pets, and cute crafts, including glitter and cakes made from clay. In a new multi-channel video and suite of murals, Fischli dissects the ideals that fuel artistic ambitions and irreverently alludes to their contradictions.
Spray-painted depictions of baroque curtains cover the gallery walls. The lights in the space occasionally drop out in preparation for a theatrical screening, only to reveal short clips of a video projected in different areas of the gallery. Content becomes a moving target, and the main event of the production remains unclear. “Welcome back,” says the protagonist repeatedly, or “Hey guys!”, salutations reminiscent of a creator from TikTok or YouTube greeting their subscribers with a new post. In this unstable rhythm of darkness and light, silence and sound, engagement and reflection, these declarations come into view as disruptive flashbacks.
The star of, and inspiration for, the video is an actress and influencer in Switzerland. Reciting a monologue written for her by Fischli, she is filmed both in the artist’s studio and in the commercial environments of furniture showrooms, where customers test out standardized templates for home life. Splayed on an ergonomic leather chaise and designer couches or seated at a wooden kitchen island, the actress offers disjointed existential ruminations on her role in the world as a creative agent and the power of the arts in society. “Are you listening?” she asks the viewer. “Do you believe what I am saying?”
Assertions, confessions and questions accumulate in this chamber where theories of self-realization, success and failure collide. Taken together, the works in the exhibition suggest a series of portals that might be cages, windows that emphasize limits, aspirations that lay traps.
Gina Fischli wishes to thank Johannes Wagenknecht, Madlaina Peer, Klaudia Schifferle, Lisa Bärenbold and Valentina Fischli.
This exhibition is organized by Laura McLean-Ferris, Curator-at-Large, and Daniel Merritt, Curator and Head of Residencies.
Gina Fischli (b. 1989, Zürich, CH) lives and works in Zürich. She has had solo exhibitions at Neuer Essener Kunstverein, Essen (2020); Sundy, London (2018); and Forde, Geneva (2016), amongst others. Recent group exhibitions include Nothing to Write Home About, Kim?, Contemporary Art Centre, Riga (2022); Hotline 3, Forde, Geneva (2021); SculptureGarden Geneva Biennale, Geneva (2020); A home is not a house, Fri Art, Fribourg (2020); The Garden, Royal Academy, London (2019); and SI ONSITE, Swiss Institute, New York (2019). In 2021, Fischli presented Ravenous and Predatory for the Cork Street Banner Commission, London.
Image: Giovanni Battista Cima da Conegliano (c.1459–1517) (attributed to), God the Father, c. 1510-1517, Oil on panel. 12 1/2 x 16 in. (31.7 x 40.6 cm.) The Courtauld, London. Bequeathed by Arthur Hamilton, Viscount Lee of Fareham, 1947.