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July 27, 1954 |
Bruck an der Mur, Austria
|Education||University of Applied Arts Vienna|
|Known for||Sculpture, Photography|
|Notable work(s)||Fat Car series|
|Awards||Grand Austrian State Prize 2013|
Erwin Wurm (born 1954) is an Austrian artist born in Bruck an der Mur / Styria. He currently lives and works in Vienna and Limburg, Austria.
Since the late 1980s, he has developed an ongoing series of One Minute Sculptures, in which he poses himself or his models in unexpected relationships with everyday objects close at hand, prompting the viewer to question the very definition of sculpture. He seeks to use the "shortest path" in creating a sculpture — a clear and fast, sometimes humorous, form of expression. As the sculptures are fleeting and meant to be spontaneous and temporary, the images are only captured in photos or on film.
In The Artist Who Swallowed the World (Hatje Cantz) Wurm is quoted as saying: "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 known for his humorous approach to formalism. About the use of humor in his work, Wurm says in an interview: "If you approach things with a sense of humor, people immediately assume you're not to be taken seriously. But I think truths about society and human existence can be approached in different ways. You don't always have to be deadly serious. Sarcasm and humor can help you see things in a lighter vein."
Although the images are slightly humorous, they also differ enough from the true image they can be haunting. Wurm’s work portrays manipulated images of things in every day life, things that look familiar, but which become distorted. Pieces like Truck, where a truck curves up against the building or Narrow House, a thin, claustrophobic house, take something familiar to all and distort it by enlarging, curving it, or slimming it down. “I will often use humor to seduce people”, admits Wurm. “To get them to move closer, but it’s never very nice when they look closer."
Wurm is mentioned in the Red Hot Chili Peppers music video "Can't Stop", in which a sign states that his art was an inspiration for the video. In a recent iTunes interview Flea is quoted as saying Wurm's picture of a man with a pencil in his nose was a significant influence on the video (Flea himself appears in the video, at a certain point, with markers in his nostrils, pencils in his ears and paint pot caps over his eyes). The photos in One Minute Sculptures were impulsively made and are quite bizarre.
Wurm has worked on a series of sculptures titled Fat Car, which depict “puffy, obese, life-size sculptures that bulge like overfilled sacks”. The first of his Fat Car series was developed with Opel designers, but they were unsuccessful in achieving the kind of shape that Wurm had in mind. In order to create the desired look of fatness, the artist uses polyurethane foam and styrofoam covered with lacquer. Wurm has also produced a Fat House at near full scale.
Erwin Wurm's works are a part of prestigious collections worldwide, including the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Walker Art Center, Museum Ludwig, Kunstmuseum St. Gallen, Musee d’Art Contemporain de Lyon, Museum of Old and New Art, and the Centre Pompidou.
- Media related to Erwin Wurm at Wikimedia Commons
- Official Website
- erwinwurm.com Website about Erwin Wurm and his work
- Interview, recorded on 2007-09-06
- Erwin Wurm at Xavier Hufkens, Brussels
- Artnet: Erwin Wurm
- MCA Sydney, Australia: Erwin Wurm
- Erwin Wurm: Greatest Human Being Who Ever Lived
- Erwin Wurm
- Lehmann Maupin Gallery