ERWIN WURM
A 70TH-BIRTHDAY RETROSPECTIVE

ALBERTINA MODERN, VIENNA, AUSTRIA
13 SEPTEMBER 2024 – 23 FEBRUARY 2025

On the occasion of Wurm’s 70th birthday, ALBERTINA MODERN presents a first-ever sweeping retrospective featuring his diverse oeuvre in all artistic media.

Alongside the main thread that runs throughout his intense and innovative creative career, namely that of his distinctive sculptures, this presentation also aims to introduce the public to less well-known but equally significant works and work groups. The resulting selection will form a dense network of artistic statements comprising sculptures, drawings, working instructions and documentation, videos, objects, photographs, and paintings that invite us to shine a light on what Wurm himself points to as being ”the paradox and absurd” in our world, our lives, our everyday existence.
Erwin Wurm, MIND BUBBLE WALKING PINK, 2024 © Bildrecht Wien 2024, Photo Markus Gradwohl.

In light of the novel sort of hierarchical proportion thus suggested, aspects such as shifted and quirky situations and physical proportions, viewing angles, and an unconventional approach to artworks and actions taken therewith can likewise evoke new realizations.

Erwin Wurm first achieved international renown with his One Minute Sculptures in which the viewers, by carrying out his sketched and/or written work assignments, themselves become part of the artwork. The instant this occurs, the notion of sculpture undergoes a performative expansion that occasionally defies ephemerality thanks to its conservation in photographic form.

With his Fat Cars and Tiny Houses as well as with his marble sculptures of cucumbers, bread rolls, and sausages or even coveted luxury items such as ladies’ handbags atop longer-than-life human legs, though they all may be outwardly evocative of smiles, Erwin Wurm shines a critical spotlight on consumer society’s manipulative mechanisms and their effects.

This exhibition brings together principal works from all stations of Wurm’s artistic career, drawing an arc from the early wooden and dust sculptures of the 1980s to his latest creations. Accompanying it will be an extensive catalog that documents all of the important stations of Erwin Wurm’s artistic career to date in the spirit of this celebratory occasion.

© Text by ALBERTINA MODERN

FEATURED ARTIST

ERWIN WURM

Erwin Wurm (b. 1954 in Bruck an der Mur, Austria) lives and works in Vienna. His oeuvre comprises sculptures, photography, video, performance, and painting. His works often involve everyday objects such as cars, houses, clothing, luxury bags, and food products, with which he ironically comments on consumerism and capitalist mass production. Wurm gained widespread popularity in the 1990s with his “One Minute Sculptures”. Museum pedestals are displayed and left devoid of any work, so that the audience can take the place of the sculpture for one minute, according to the artist’s whimsical instructions. With this ironic yet radical gesture, Wu...
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