Rock on Top of Another Rock (2010/13) was the first public sculpture by Swiss artists Fischli/Weiss to be commissioned in the UK.
This work by Fischli/Weiss, situated near the entrance to the Serpentine Gallery, comprised two large granite boulders seemingly balanced one on top of the other. Standing approximately 5.5 metres high, Fischli/Weiss’s deceptively simple gesture was incongruous and startling, and yet also in tune with its site. Rock on Top of Another Rock oscillated between stability and instability, construction and destruction.
Like many of the artists’ best-known works, including the Equilibres/Quiet Afternoon photographs displayed in the Sackler Centre of Arts Education at the Serpentine Gallery from 8th March–7th April 2013, the rocks are imbued with the artists’ unmistakable wit and serious sense of the absurd. A parallel project, commissioned by the National Tourist Routes in Norway, saw two boulders installed in the Norwegian countryside along the Valdresflya tourist route.
‘In Norway and here, to put one rock on top of another rock in the wilderness is the first thing you do if you want to make a mark. When you walk and you want to find your way back… you make this mark. It is a very archaic, simple thing, but it is referencing the [Robert] Venturi duck. We wanted to make something that forces you to stop your car and get out to take a photograph’ –Peter Fischli
The installation in Kensington Gardens was organised by the Serpentine Gallery in collaboration with Royal Parks and Modus Operandi.
In April 2013, the Serpentine Gallery presented an evening with Peter Fischli and Adam Caruso dedicated to the Fischli/Weiss installation in Kensington Gardens, Rock on Top of Another Rock. This event, programmed in consultation with Fischli, explored the fascinating history of stones and rocks in art. Precariousness, stability and a sense of the absurd, evoked by Fishli/Weiss’s monumental sculpture at the Serpentine Gallery, were discussed, offering a unique insight into the project and the artists’ wider practice.