Fischli/Weiss: Rock on Top of Another Rock at Serpentine Gallery, London

A unique installation in Kensington Gardens presented by the Serpentine Gallery and The Royal Parks, Rock on Top of Another Rock is a large-scale sculpture by the world-renowned artist duo Fischli/Weiss and echoes the earliest and most basic types of monuments found around the world: two colossal rocks seemingly balanced precariously one on top of the other. This is the first public sculpture by the artists to be presented in the UK and one of the last works they jointly conceived before David Weiss’s untimely death last year.

The monumental work, Rock on Top of Another Rock, is situated close to the Serpentine Gallery in Kensington Gardens and is formed of two glacial igneous granite boulders standing approximately 5.5 metres high on a concrete base, the monumental sculpture will be visible from a number of viewpoints in the Park. With this deceptively simple gesture, Fischli/Weiss have once again achieved the delicate balancing act of creating a work that is at once incongruous and startling, and yet entirely in tune with its site – both locally and historically. Sourced in Wales and reminiscent of the many Neolithic monuments found throughout the British countryside, Fischli/Weiss’s rocks are imbued with their unmistakeable wit and a serious sense of the absurd. Fischli/Weiss have continuously demonstrated that irony and sincerity could not exist without each other and that, in fact, there is no sincerity like irony. The installation also relates to the artists’ 1984 series of photographs, Equilibres/Quiet Afternoon, which shows precariously balanced sculptures moments before their collapse. The rocks’ massive presence teeters between stability and instability.

The Swiss duo Fischli/Weiss – Peter Fischli and David Weiss – has created some of the most memorable artworks of the past three decades and inspired many artists around the world. The artists are best-known for their 30-minute film, The Way Things Go (1987), which has enjoyed a reputation far beyond the art world. In it a series of everyday objects and machine parts roll, topple, burn, spill or otherwise propel themselves forwards to create an extended chain reaction of miraculous cause and effect.

Rock on Top of Another Rock, 7 March 2013 until 6 March 2014, Serpentine Gallery, Kensington Gardens, London, W2 3XA.

Credit: Fischli/Weiss, Rock on Top of Another Rock 2012, Indicative CGI. Courtesy Sprüth Magers Berlin London; Galerie Eva Presenhuber, Zürich; Matthew Marks Gallery, New York. © Peter Fischli David Weiss