Fat car, 2001
Fat car, 2005
Telekineticaly bent VW van, 2006
Erwin Wurm, one of Austria’s most important and internationally famous sculptors, has been preoccupied with expanding the concept of sculpture since the 1980s. Wurm is primarily a sculptor, and traditional sculptural concerns such as the relationship between object and pedestal, the function of gravity, the fixing of form, and the manipulation of volume, play through all his work.
Increasing, remodeling or removing volume, the habitual interests of many sculptors, are given a new twist in Wurm’s work. Volume and adding volume are treated as sociocrital issues. In 1993, Erwin Wurm wrote an instructional book on how to gain two clothing sizes in eight days. Eight years later, he made his first Fat Car by plumping up an existing car with styrofoam and fiberglass, which resulted in a pitiful, chubby version of the original sportsy model. By taking the question of obesity, Wurm probes the link between power, wealth and body weight. He also wants to offer a sharp criticism of our current value system, as the advertising world demands us to stay thin but to consume more and more.
> also see his One Minute Sculptures
After Franz West we follow up with another well-known Austrian artist, Erwin Wurm. Since the late 1990s he is working on his on-going One Minute Sculpture series in which he or others pose with everyday objects, often within an art space.
The One Minute Sculptures redefine the concept of sculpture into one of dynamic act rather than static object. Wurm’s sculptures are wrought from the human body, choreographed into absurd, witty and often perilous, relationships with objects of everyday life – a man lying squeezed under a Barcelona chair, a banana peeping out of a man’s trousers, a man balancing two bottles of detergent on his toes, or two men balancing brief cases between their knees and chests. One Minute Sculptures can happen anywhere, anytime: on a street, at home, in a hotel. Riven with a sense of imminent failure, each sculpture exists for barely a minute, before gravity triumphs, everything collapses, and the only thing to remain is a video or, in this case, a photograph.
A One Minute Sculpture could be called a sculptural variant of situation comedy because they unleash a similar effect: usually funny, often embarrassing, occasionally flowing with pathos.
In his book The Artist Who Swallowed the World (Hatje Cantz) Wurm said: I am interested in the everyday life. All the materials that surrounded me could be useful, as well as the objects, topics involved in contemporary society. My work speaks about the whole entity of a human being: the physical, the spiritual, the psychological and the political.
Wurm is also credited for inspiring the video Can’t Stop of Red Hot Chili Peppers which got +32.000.000 views on YouTube..
Right now 18 of Wurm’s photographs are on display at Open Eye Gallery in Liverpool (UK). Erwin Wurm: One Minute Sculptures runs to September 2.
Following our best-of of Wurm’s One Minute Sculptures: