“Untitled” 1978
“Untitled” 1976
“Untitled” 1978
“Untitled 1969
“Untitled” 1979
“Untitled” 1979
“Untitled” 1979
Photo by Keizo Kioku

TARO NASU is pleased to host the first solo exhibition of late Swiss artist David Weiss in Japan, focusing on his early works on paper between 1969 and 1979.

Weiss’ early work, which conveys the absurd beauty of banality was virtually unknown to the public, yet in the last months before his passing in 2012, he began to reapproach his works from the 70s by archiving his many notebooks, drawings and other form of works on paper, which he always kept very close to him at home. Later it became the source for many books and exhibitions throughout Europe and the USA.

The title of the exhibition After the Kontiki (Nach der Kontiki) springs from the homonymous series of Neocolor wax pastel grattages on view. The Kontiki was a famous bar and artist hangout in to 70s and 80s in the old town of Zurich, which, due to strict regulations by the City, had to close at midnight. In this particular series of works, David Weiss depicts the delusional scenes after the bar closed.

In addition to the series of Neocolor drawings, TARO NASU will showcase further important early works, such as works from the Quiet Night-series – large format watercolors, showing nightly street views as well as one Netzbild (Web Drawing), a large-format work drawn on paper with ink. The Japanese ink is applied to the paper extensively, without any visible brushstrokes. Here, the use of the black colour, rather than serving to add content or motifs, makes minimalist network structures visible, by leaving out thin lines of the paper underneath…

With this exhibition, we hope that one will feel the origins of David Weiss artistic practice, who later then became known as part of one of the world’s most famous contemporary artist duo: Peter Fischli & David Weiss.


David Weiss, *1946/†2012 in Zurich, lived and worked in Zurich, Los Angeles and Carona

David Weiss grew up as the son of a parish priest and a teacher. After discovering a passion for jazz at the age of 16, he enrolled in a foundation course at the Kunstgewerbeschule, Zürich, where in his first year of study he befriended fellow artist Urs Lüthi. Having rejected careers as a decorator, a graphic designer and a photographer, Weiss soon came to view a career as an artist as a realistic prospect. He studied at the Kunstgewerbeschule, Zürich (1963–64), and the Kunstgewerbeschule, Basel (1964–65); he subsequently worked as sculptor with Alfred Gruder (Basel) and Jaqueline Stieger (England). In 1967, he worked at the Expo 67 in Montreal, before traveling to New York, where he got to know the important minimalist art of the time. Between 1970 and 1979 he published books in collaboration with Lüthi. For most of 1975–78, he spent a great deal of time drawing in black ink, and had exhibitions at galleries in Zürich, Amsterdam, Cologne, and Rotterdam.

1979–2012 Collaboration with Peter Fischli

Since his passing in 2012, The Estate of David Weiss is maintaining and managing his early work spanning from 1968 through 1981, in Zurich.