'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 Serpentine Gallery is proud to present Rock on Top of Another Rock by Swiss artists Fischli/Weiss. The first public sculpture by the artists to be commissioned in the UK, this unique installation in Kensington Gardens, situated outside the Serpentine Gallery, 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.
Formed of two glacial igneous granite boulders and 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. A parallel project, commissioned by the National Tourist Routes in Norway, sees two boulders installed in the Norwegian countryside along the Valdresflya tourist route. Fischli/Weiss's four-metre-high sculpture is installed in a rural setting, visible from the road but not immediately identifiable as art. This and the installation in Kensington Gardens will each be shaped by its context. The Serpentine has worked closely with our Norwegian colleagues to realise this project, initiated with the artists more than two years ago.