Urs Fischer’s new exhibition at Sadie Coles HQ centres on an installation of 3,000 plaster raindrops suspended throughout the gallery. Titled Melodrama, the raindrops encompass a spectrum of shades from green to lilac, massing together into a gently psychedelic storm cloud which weaves in a swirling movement through the space. Yet their forms are incongruously physical – each droplet is a bulbous pendant cast from a hand-modelled prototype, and hangs from the ceiling by lengths of near-invisible monofilament. The installation’s romantic overtones collide with a bluntly cartoonish quality, bordering on the slapstick, that resonates with the double-edged register of much of Fischer’s art.
Dispersed and amorphous, the installation swells through the length and breadth o f the gallery, at the same time as it frenetically splits the space and circumscribes our movement within it. Fischer skews our sense of scale – viewers become Lilliputians within the sea of oversize drops – while simultaneously he effaces basic distinctions between outside and inside, architecture and landscape. We are required to pass through narrow channels, to the extent that it is perhaps impossible to perceive the work in its totality. The raindrops therefore dramatise – and radically extend – Charles Baudelaire’s idea that sculpture has “a hundred different points of view”, presenting a limitless number of facets and avenues.
Fischer has previously played with ideas of finite or infinite points of view, above all in his series of mirrored boxes (one group of which was exhibited in 2010 at Sadie Coles) bearing discrete views of miscellaneous objects on each of their five faces. Melodrama also speaks of a tension between naturalism and surreal artifice that runs through Fischer’s work; its torqued shape evokes a windswept shower at the same time as being preternaturally static and calm, as if permanently arrested in an airborne swerve. The drops appear both comically globular and disarmingly weightless. Each drop ranges in appearance from a smooth teardro p to a pear- like clod (it is perhaps no coincidence that food – apples, pears, croissants – has appeared in absurdist scenarios throughout Fischer’s oeuvre).