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.
For his first exhibition at Xavier Hufkens, the artist will focus on 2 projects : the “One Minute Sculpture” and the “Fat Car”.
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.
Increasing, remodelling or removing volume – the habitual interests of many a sculptor – 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.
At Xavier Hufkens, a real size, red “Convertible Fat Car” will occupy the main exhibition room of the gallery while sculpted versions of the “Fat Car” in shining, bright colours, photographs and drawings will be exhibited in the adjacent rooms.