Urs Fischer in L.A.

© Urs Fischer. Courtesy of the artist and Gagosian Gallery. Photo: Mats Nordman

A retrospective of the artist’s work opens at the Museum of Contemporary Art.

The first time I encountered an Urs Fischer was when London dealer Sadie Coles offered me one of his “Dust” paintings five or six years ago; I was overcome by its unique beauty.

I’ve collected his art ever since and began last year working with L.A.’s Museum of Contemporary Art, of which I’m a trustee, to put on the first retrospective of Fischer’s 20-year career, opening in April.

Confronted with a Fischer, one does not just take it in with the eyes. However unintentionally, the viewer experiences its often monumental presence in other ways. For Fischer wrestles with art history with the strength of a champion athlete, fusing conceptual insights with the power of the body. He collapses art history through his high-powered collage of images and materials, making a 16th-century sculptor like Giambologna look contemporary. His approach reminds me of a DJ who samples and overlays elements from musical history to create dynamic and unexpected sounds.

Wax sculptures literally melt before our eyes; skeletons lie on park benches; houses are made of bread. For in Fischer’s imagination, anything is possible. “Urs Fischer” will run April 21 to August 19; 250 S. Grand Ave.; moca.org.