Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Sonne, Mond und Sterne by Peter Fischli and David Weiss

Seeing as North America's rampant unregulated free market-style of capitalism is collapsing in on itself, Fischili and Weiss' Sonne, Mond und Sterne (Sun, Moon and Stars) may serve as exhibit A when we finally step back and sift through the wreckage.

Sonne, Mond und Sterne is an 800 page artist book comprised of hundreds of magazine advertisements arranged loosely into a narrative of 20th and 21st century temptations. Unrelenting in its scale, their barrage approach is perfect for a subject as obnoxious as the continual bombardment we face to advertising. Originally conceived as a corporate annual report from Ringier AG for 2007, this volume was edited by Beatrix Ruf of the Kunsthalle Zurich.

I take this as proof of a society gone mad but I imagine Fischili and Weiss are too smart for such a simplistic reading. Their's seems to be an art of embracing the nature of the societies we have made, and I could guess that this collection is their scrapbook of pleasurable "ready-mades" that for them induce more of a wide grin than a grimace of horror. Deadly sins such as gluttony and greed can be both disgusting and desirable after all.

Sonne, Mond und Sterne
is paperback and the size feels like a super heavy phone book. There are no accompanying texts or explanations of what it is or why it exists. It was published by JRP/Ringier of Zurich.

The promise of fulfilling needs (and creating new ones) is what advertising does best -- offering the idea of a more manageable life where convenience is a given and happiness is available right off the shelf. In short, promising the Sun, Moon and Stars at a good price.