R. M. Fischer at Deitch Projects

R. M. Fischer at Deitch Projects
Art in America
April, 1999
p. 156

R.M. Fischer combines odd electrical, plumbing and industrial findings into functional sculptures, most often lamps, which, in his hands, transcend their banal origins. While decidedly abstract, they also exhibit subtle robotlike qualities and are simultaneously futuristic and nostalgic. In the past, Fischer's pieces tended to be metallic and spindly, with a pugnacious faux-fascist bravado. While this most recent work retains all his trademark peculiarities, it has a decidedly feminine character and deals with a sculptural volume that is more Botero than Giacometti.

These assemblages consist of as many as 14 plastic globes, lit from inside--the same globes, although it is not immediately obvious, that mark New York subway stations. Here, white with occasional interruptions of red and green, they resemble balloons and impart a festive air. Exquisitely finished and polished, almost like jewelry, the brass fittings make the sculptures look vaguely Victorian. The pieces are human scale, up to 6 feet tall, which adds to their anthropomorphic nature. The globes, placed to suggest breasts, buttocks and other body parts, exude a kind of antique sexuality reminiscent of turn-of-the-century erotic postcards. Looping black electrical cords sometimes evoke necklaces or watch chains; elsewhere, as they extend from randomly placed chrome pipe nipples, the effect is alarmingly visceral. Of course, the dominant whiteness of these works can also suggest purity, and they can also appear as innocent and asexual as snowmen.

These pieces call up the conflicting feelings another person can engender in us. Seeing this show was like being at a holiday party with relatives we both love and hate, who are amusing but also disgusting, who attract and repel us, whom we want to hurt and at the same time protect. In an era when the use of unconventional materials or simply a "cool idea" often passes as art, Fischer's sculpture is distinguished by its complexity; not only does his ability to deal with paradox result in work that can be read on many levels, but his highly developed craft and esthetic concerns are equal to the content.


-Carol Diehl

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