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American, 20th – 21st century, male.

Active in England.

Born 1947, in Salem (Ohio).

Draughtsman, sculptor.

Without joining the Arte Povera movement, which sprang up primarily in Italy from 1968 onward, Joel Fischer nevertheless benefited from it, in that this movement looked at the coarsest materials through new eyes. However, the issue for Fischer is not one of expressivity, as it is for the Arte Povera artists, but rather a reflection on the ambitions of art. In his early career his work was above all intended to be a derisory activity. At this time he began to plait and spin hair, and make nails from old bits of metal or pieces of coarse paper from old clothes. By reaffirming ties with the artisan side of art, Fischer quickly found favour in the USA. Without losing interest in the materials, he began in the 1980s to explore meticulously the medium and subject of his future drawings: chiffon paper, which he makes entirely by hand. The imperfections are exaggerated with charcoal and, in a new space, come to signify a non-accidental form. In ...