Erwin Wurm
Edition with KPM Berlin

Erwin Wurm’s ONKEL is the product of a collaboration with the Königliche Porzellan-Manufaktur (KPM), a porcelain manufacturer located in Berlin, with a rich history dating back to the middle of the 18th-century. For this unique edition, Wurm designed a vase that takes the form of the torso of a figure in a suit and button-up shirt, though absent certain defining features. The opening of ONKEL is where the head of this figure might be, hollowed out to allow for flowers or other arrangements to take their place within the object. The so-called “body” of the vase is in fact a body, without head or hands, but standing upright, a contemporary update to the noble figures that once employed the regal porcelain studios. This edition will launch on Sunday 20 November 2022, 12 PM CET.
KPM owner Jörg Woltmann spoke with Johann König about deceleration, his love of Brutalist aesthetics and pocket squares. The following is an excerpt of their interview.

Jörg Woltmann: Mr. König, when we started thinking about a collaboration between your gallery and KPM Berlin, you immediately brought up the Austrian sculptor, Erwin Wurm. Why?

Johann König: Erwin Wurm seemed to me to be the right person to create something interesting and unexpected out of porcelain. He is a “deformalist”. He deforms objects, inflates them, fuses handbags with women's legs, bends trucks, narrows houses. His bronze statue "Big Mutter," a giant hot-water bottle on two legs, stood in front of my gallery in Berlin-Kreuzberg – so I could observe how fascinated and enthusiastic passers-by were about his work.JW: Erwin Wurm designed a vase for KPM Berlin in the shape of a man's torso with flowers growing out of his collar ...

JK: ... actually I would have liked to create a whole series of different Wurm products. I have a great passion for producing them. We do a lot of glass casting, make works of art out of bronze and stainless steel. I'm used to tackling things quickly, implementing ideas. But that's not possible with porcelain, I had to learn.
JW: No, porcelain is a complicated material. The mould construction for each product is complex, its production very time-consuming. We have to take our time. In return, what is created is more exclusive.

JK: And we can make each of our men's torsos even more unique. I'm excited about the idea that we will glaze some parts, like the lapels, pocket, belt, collar, and leave others bisque. There are hundreds of possible combinations. That's how we make each piece unique.

© All images by Roman März



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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