One of Austria’s most prominent artists, Wurm (b.1954) rose to fame in the 1990s with his One Minute Sculptures, an ongoing series of works that combines performance and everyday objects to capture a moment in time when a participant activates the work.
Outdoors, new sculptures from the Skins and Avatar series reflect the artist’s interest in fashion as a representation of a particular time, and the psychological suggestion of clothing becoming the wearer’s second skin. Giants, sculptures from the Abstract series (2014-18), render anthropomorphised sausage forms in bronze and reference the wiener, or hot dog, that takes its name from Austria’s capital, Vienna. Wurm interprets many popular food items in his sculpture. Perhaps the most iconic of these is the gherkin, or pickled cucumber, with which he has a longstanding fascination, represented by the four-metre-high bronze Der Gurk (2016).
In the Underground Gallery works include the marble bread, croissants and sausages from the Icons (2021) series; large oil on canvas graphic and brightly coloured paintings titled Flat Sculptures (2021- 22); and small-scale concrete houses and cars melded with commonplace objects from the 2022 Concrete series. Wurm’s One Minute Sculptures connect performance with impermanence – they are only complete when activated by a participant and are only ‘known’ when documented as a photograph. Questioning social norms, Ship of Fools (2017) is an adapted caravan with which visitors are invited to interact by putting their heads, hands, bottoms or feet through apertures – shown alongside photographs, videos and instructional drawings.
The exhibition springboards a programme of engagement activity centred around play, the exploration of materials in relation to the body and everyday objects, and experimentation of making processes.
An illustrated guide to the exhibition and a catalogue featuring in-situ photography will accompany the exhibition.
Photo: Erwin Wurm, Ship of Fools, 2017. Installation at Yorkshire Sculpture Park, 2023. Courtesy Studio Erwin Wurm and Thaddaeus Ropac Gallery. Photo © Jonty Wilde, courtesy YSP