On Sunday 4 September 2022, Erwin Wurm’s WALKING BAG, 2019 will be unveiled at Martinsplatz in the center of the former West German capital city of Bonn. The public work was commissioned by the city council and features an enormous pair of cartoonish legs descending from a large handbag, all painted in a hue of reddish orange that reflects the busy street corner on which it is installed, bustling with pedestrian and street traffic. The scene is sure to garner attention for its witty reversal of agencies – the handbag having sprouted limbs so it can take itself out for a stroll.The Austrian artist has long been carrying the objects of consumer desire to humorous excess, shrinking and enlarging his childhood home, squishing automobiles into comfortable benches, and WALKING BAG follows in this vein, using public space as the primal scene of shopping fantasies. The formal distortions at play in Wurm’s sculpture reflect the madness and obsession associated with commodity culture, though without reproach or judgment. Instead, Wurm mimes his subjects, using the language of sculpture to imagine his objects just as they are, only more so. The results are self-consciously ludic, which are only amplified by the work’s inclusion in open space, for seemingly anyone to see and interact with.

© Images Daniel Biskup