Erwin Wurm, Austria

Erwin Wurm portrait

Erwin Wurm, born in 1954, lives and works in Vienna and in Limberg/Lower Austria. During the 1990s, he attracted much attention with his “One-Minute Sculptures“. Following the artist’s partly written and partly pictorial instructions, visitors to the exhibition could themselves briefly become sculptures, by taking up often funny poses frequently involving everyday objects – especially clothing – such as the knitted pullovers, frequently recurring in his works. Erwin Wurm’s complex work includes performance, video, photography, drawing and classical sculpture. His artistic expression, rather like the comic strip or science fiction images, is clear and simple. By the introduction of humour and cynicism in his work that plays with the borders between media and art , Erwin Wurm reaches not only an intellectual elite, but also attracts a wider public and the press.

With Public Delivery Video festival Fairy Tales, 2015

Fairy Tales - Taipei Museum of Contemporary Art

Fairy Tales was a video art festival at the Plaza of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Taipei, Taiwan.

Lida Abdul, Afghanistan
Said Atabekov, Kazakhstan
Mohamed Bourouissa, Algeria
Chen Chieh-Jen, Taiwan
Cao Fei, China
Yang Fudong, China
Cyprien Gaillard, France
Dejan Kaludjerović, Yugoslavia
Mari Kim, South Korea
Kamin Lertchaiprasert, Thailand
Taus Makhacheva, Russia
Almagul Menlibayeva, Kazakhstan
Mariko Mori, Japan
Ahmet Ögüt, Turkey
Adrian Paci, Italy
Public Delivery, South Korea
Wang Qingsong, China
Walid Raad, Lebanon
Cheng Ran, China & Item Idem, France
Taps & Moses, Germany
Guido van der Werve, Netherlands
Erwin Wurm, Austria
Miao Xiaochun, China


7min 18sec
Courtesy Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, Paris (F), Salzburg (A)

Exhibited: Tell, 2007/2008

His short film Tell, shows a young couple driving through Vienna in a car. As they talk, the car suddenly drives vertically up a house wall. The car stops. The couple gets out and walks down the wall. As they walk they discuss and question important philosophical ideas about the world we live in, trivializing it somewhat through the farcical nature of the scene. Like in the Hollywood movie Inception, where the city foldes in itself, Erwin Wurm stages here a distance to fundamentally question the values of our society.

From the blog

  • Erwin Wurm [Austria] (b 1954) _ _Pee on someone's rug_, 2003. Instructions on how to be politically incorrect. c-print (126 x 160 cm). CroppedPolitically incorrect on purpose - Humans in awkward poses
    Erwin Wurm [Austria] (b 1954) _ _Pee on someone's rug_, 2003. Instructions on how to be politically incorrect. c-print (126 x 160 cm). Cropped

    Erwin Wurm - Instructions on how to be politically incorrect, Spit in Someone's Soup, 2003
    Erwin Wurm – Instructions on how to be politically incorrect, Spit in Someone’s Soup, 2003


    Erwin Wurm is certainly one of Austria’s and the world’s most recognizable artists. Using social taboos and absurd scenarios to create his thought-provoking work, Wurm’s art installations have broken boundaries and changed the way that people approach and view art in a contemporary society.

    Through his installations, Wurm comments on modern society and critiques it through his curious point of view of the world that has catapulted him to global fame and success. Throughout his career, Wurm’s transient performative one minute sculptures which he often photographs before exhibiting have combined both humor and basic criticisms, which has paved the way for innumerable explanations and interpretations from audiences.

    How to be politically incorrect

    How to be Politically Incorrect” consists of a strange series of photos depicting human beings in several awkward situations that would otherwise be deemed politically incorrect in any part of the world. The series of photos was created between the years 2002 and 2003.

    Instructions on how to be politically incorrect” was comprised of several inappropriate scenarios that should never happen in real life such as a woman peeing on a rug, as well as a scene containing a man whose head is stuck beneath a woman’s blouse. Comic and absurd, each of these scenarios was created to question political and social standards as human beings understand them today.

    For years, Wurm has been creating facetious skits such as these that challenge the rules of stability and societal ethics. Using photographs, performances, installations and videos, each of these works is created with the subjects or the actors posed in singular compromising situations. The subjects or mannequins in the series were made with simplicity in mind so that they could come as close to resembling real human beings as possible.

    In the series, the subjects and the various scenes were designed to represent events that take place in daily life and Wurm emphasized their ridiculous nature to drive the point home. By relying on absurdities to make up his work, Erwin forces the viewer to confront and challenge expected behavioral conventions.

    About Erwin Wurm

    Throughout his career, Erwin has been creating art that both entertains and irritates at the same time- this has become his standard and style. When he creates art, Erwin strives to continually investigate the limits of human behavior by challenging the legitimacy of the norms and rules established by society.

    Born in Austria in 1954 in Bruck an der Mur, Austria, Erwin has gained fame for his figures and sculptures which have been making rounds in biennials and galleries since the 80s. Today, he lives and works in Vienna and he has been the subject of numerous museum exhibitions including the National Gallery of Victoria, the National Museum of Art in Osaka, and many more.

    Erwin Wurm - Instructions on how to be politically incorrect, Inspection, 2002, C-print, 126 x 184-cm, Foto Erwin Wurm, VG Bild-Kunst Bonn
    Erwin Wurm – Instructions on how to be politically incorrect, Inspection, 2002, C-print, 126 x 184-cm
    ©VG Bild-Kunst Bonn

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  • New project: Public art project with the Taipei Museum of Contemporary Art

    Fairy Tales poster

    Fairy Tales is the third edition of the traveling exhibition Utopian Days and presents video works of 25 artists and collectives. It’s held at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Taipei, Taiwan, the country’s first museum to be dedicated exclusively to contemporary art from April 25 to June 14, 2015.

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  • Looking at these cars will make you laugh

    Erwin Wurm - Fat Convertible, 2005
    Erwin WurmFat Car Convertible (Porsche) , 2005

    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.

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  • erwin-wurm-one-minute-sculptures-1Erwin Wurm's One Minute Sculptures are refreshing

    Erwin WurmOne Minute Sculpture, Freud’s rectification (Philosophy digestion)

    Since the late 1990s Austrian artist, Erwin Wurm is working on his on-going One Minute Sculpture series in which he or others pose with everyday objects, often within an art space.

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