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.
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.
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.