Poultry | Urs Fischer

Poultry 2009 | Mixed technique 96 x 71 1/2 inches

Discover the biography and all work of the artist

The artwork Poultry is a continuation of his series of monumental portraits in which the faces of glamorous Hollywood icons are crudely masked by objects or items of food. These Problem Paintings reinvent the classical genre of portraiture by turning the hierarchy of the subjects upside down, not unlike work by surrealists such as Le Fils de l’homme by Magritte. Similarly, he reinterprets everyday objects, such as the spoon and the screw, giving them a hyper-realistic, three-dimensional quality. These oversized objects give form to the shapeless, melting texture of the background. Like the still-life compositions of fruit by the Mannerist painter Giuseppe Arcimboldo, Urs Fischer suggests a face through the combination of materials and utensils : here, the screw serves as a nose, the twisted spoon becomes a smile while the white foam sketches out a beard.  The grotesque composition of the face also gives rise to a mischievous look that provokes the spectator, with a certain irony, in his perception of the piece that repulses but ultimately wins us over with its humour. The artist adds a further touch of provocation by calling his piece “poultry”, to emphasise the denaturalisation of the original subject, alienated by the world of objects.

Despite never attending art school, Urs Fischer has become a successor to the anti-art movements of Dada and Pop art, using humour to portray the codes of contemporary society and the history of art. He does not restrict himself to particular materials or mediums in creating his own language, in order to be free of all conventions.