Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The prestige

Living in WETAWORLD we are pretty blase about things made to look like things as the Weta Workshop can knock out a realistic rock, hand or ape without breaking a sweat. In Wellington the creation of fake objects has become ingrained in our culture through the ongoing impact of the three Ws: Weta Workshop, WOW (World of Wearable Art) and Te Papa (ok, two Ws), so it takes a lot to impress us with custom made lookalikes, unless you’re Fischli and Weiss, that is. Their installation Untitled (Tate) may appear to be an abandoned sculpture studio (and a none too tidy one at that) but that’s an illusory punch in the face. It turns out that every item, including the tea bags, the packet of fags, the pallets, the bowls, brushes and paints were all created out of Polythene foam. This reality is hard to believe in even when your brain had sorted out some accommodation with the information your eyes keep sending in. The work is not so much a feat of technical skill (though it’s that too) as a transformation of the banality of work.