Is it dangerous to always dream of another life? Do I lead a modern life? Does the dog bark all night? Why does nothing ever happen? Can ghosts see me?

The pages of the artist’s book Mi trova la fortuna? (2003) by Peter Fischli & David Weiss appear as blackboards on which the artists have written with a white chalk sentences that are both simple and existential at the same time. Dazzling the reader with these annotations of scattered thoughts, the artists want to question everything without however abandoning the game and the irony that characterizes their practice. The book, made up of hundreds of these questions, looks like a small black notebook that you can easily take with you, to the bar or on a trip, and that you can consult whenever you think about an aspect of your daily live as trivial as it is incredibly universal it could be. In the pages of the book published by Verlang Der Buchandlung, a thought in constant analysis is presented: the present is a pretext to lead to a philosophical reflection on the major systems of human existence and of the world.

Can I still drive? Why does everything work out around me? Do we cross a wall when we fall asleep?

The pages of the book continue to flow and the reader feels more and more involved: the handwritten questions, sometimes even crossed out as if there had been direct and continuous work on these thoughts, bring Fischli & Weiss’ thinking closer to ours. It seems to see the transposition of our thoughts while we walk or while we flow in our daily routine. The game and the joke are the method by which these pressing questions follow one another.

Have I ever been wide awake? Are people right to feel sorry for me? When is a hiding place good?

Mi trova la fortuna? It leads nowhere but to the constant reiteration of an existentialism intrinsic to our existence: the artist duo talks to us about the impossibility of asking ourselves what we are, why we are and why we could not be otherwise. Maybe ghosts see us, maybe we’re not good at playing hide and seek and maybe the dog barks all night because it’s naturally inclined to bite its tail, or at least try to. By inserting ourselves in these thought loops without rhyme or reason, Fischli & Weiss recognize a philosophizing that is also in simplicity and banality, at the same time unfolding a complexity and universality that characterizes our existence.

What does my soul do while I work?

Peter Fischli & David Weiss
Mi trova la fortuna?, 2003

Verlag der Buchhandlung – Walther Konig, Artist Book