The Living Sculptures of Erwin Wurm

published in: Art By Apostolos Mitsios, 03 June 2011

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Misconceivable, 2010, © Erwin Wurm
Courtesy Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, Salzburg/ Paris
photo © Jesse Willems

Misconceivable, 2010, © Erwin Wurm
Courtesy Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, Salzburg/ Paris
photo © Jesse Willems

Those of you that are not familiar with the work of Erwin Wurm should definitely not lose the opportunity to see the Wear me out exhibition (29 May to 25 September 2011) that the Middelheim Museum of Antwerp dedicates to this amazing Austrian artist.  Wurm is famous for pushing the boundaries of sculpture and his creations are in a number of eminent collections, including those of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, the Ludwig Museum, the Kunstmuseum St. Gallen and Centre Pompidou. Erwin Wurm is inspired by popular culture and uses everyday objects (furniture, houses, cars, buckets, plastic bottles, sandwiches) for his particular exploration of space, potential form and volume that are the basic principles of his sculptures.  In his particular quest the human body has a prominent role and is considered as the perfect canvas of experimentation. It is not a coincidence that Erwin Wurm became famous for his One Minute Sculptures, where anyone could be turned into a sculpture with the help of a specific object and drawn instructions. The origin of these sculptures lays on the idea that everyone can be an artist and that interaction is a key factor as long a creativity is concerned.

Erwin Wurm and Walter van Beirendonck
photo © Jesse Willems

In the WEAR ME OUT exhibition a selection of 20 pieces, some on loan from international collections and others new, will guide the visitor through a particular sculpture park since Erwin Wurm’s creations practically take over the open air of the Middelheim museum. This selection of Wurm’s works offers us the chance to familiarize with all the different materials that uses this multi-faceted artist: bronze, polyester, drawings, large and small sculptures, text and installations. Wurm continues exploring in this exhibition the idea behind One Minute Sculptures, this time with the collaboration of fashion designer Walter van Beirendonck and their Performative Sculptures series. Wurm, just like Beirendonck, loves to experiment with volumes, colors and texture, in a humoristic, even surreal, way. Furthermore, both of them are interested in the boundaries of the human body. Together they create the perfect hybrids between fashion and sculpture, with some amazing results. Their collaboration is one of the highlights of the Wear me out exhibition and will be shown at the Braem Pavilion.

Walter Van Beirendonck and Erwin Wurm Performative Sculptures 2011
photo © Gazet Van Antwerpen, Jan Van Der Perre

Walter Van Beirendonck and Erwin Wurm Performative Sculptures 2011
Cloud sketch silhouette

At the same time, according to the Middelheim Museum, a completely new series of “Möbeln” pieces, in which the artist turns second-hand furniture into new furniture pieces, sets the stage for Performative Sculptures. Here, too, visitors are encouraged to interact by allowing their movements and behavior to be defined by the artist and his furniture sculptures. These Performative Sculptures were carried out during opening day (28 May) and the visitors will have the opportunity to watch them again on the Museum Night (6 August) and on the final night of the exhibition (25 September). Furthermore, Wurm created a third, completely new artwork in the Braem Pavilion using colorful knitting: the artist wrapped the entire ceiling of the pavilion in a gigantic “sweater”. Last, but not least, the GEM museum of contemporary art in The Hague is also exhibiting Erwin Wurm's artworks from 25 June to 18 September.  The two exhibitions are connected and each highlights a different aspect of the artist’s rich oeuvre.

10 Knitwear Ceiling, 2011 
Courtesy of Erwin Wurm
(Braempaviljoen/Braem Pavillion/Pavillon Braem)
photo © Jesse Willems

Performative sculptures, 2011
Courtesy of Erwin Wurm
(Braempaviljoen/Braem Pavillion/Pavillon Braem)
photo © Jesse Willems

Performative sculptures, 2011
Courtesy of Erwin Wurm
(Braempaviljoen/Braem Pavillion/Pavillon Braem)
photo © Jesse Willems

Fat House, 2003, © Erwin Wurm
Courtesy Xavier Hufkens Gallery, Brussels/ Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, Salzburg/ Paris
photo © Jesse Willems

Fat House, 2003 (detail), © Erwin Wurm
Courtesy Xavier Hufkens Gallery, Brussels/ Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, Salzburg/ Paris
photo © Jesse Willems

If everyone can be an artist, then everyone can be a sculpture! Erwin Wurm invites you to forget all you know about art and become a part of his particular Performative Sculptures, using your body in a way you never imagined. All you have to do is visit the Middelheim Museum of Antwerp this summer and let yourself go. It is certainly going to be an amazing experience!

Big Gulp, 2009, © Erwin Wurm
Collection Bonem - Courtesy Xavier Hufkens Gallery, Brussels
photo © Jesse Willems

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Practical info
WEAR ME OUT - Erwin Wurm
From 29 May through 25 September 2011
Middelheim Museum  //Middelheimlaan 61, 2020 Antwerp
• Open from Tuesday through Sunday
Open by way of exception on Whit Monday, 13 June
• Opening hours:
May and August from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
June and July from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
September from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
• Entrance: free
• “Performative Sculptures” in the Braem Pavilion on 28 May (4 p.m.), 6 August (8 p.m.) and 25 September (4 p.m.)
• The exhibition catalogue is published by Hatje Cantz, and can be bought in the museum shop or in selected bookstores

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Performative sculptures, 2011
Courtesy Erwin Wurm and Walter van Beirendonck
(Braempaviljoen/Braem Pavillion/Pavillon Braem)
photo © Jesse Willems

Performative sculptures, 2011
Courtesy Erwin Wurm and Walter van Beirendonck
(Braempaviljoen/Braem Pavillion/Pavillon Braem)
photo © Jesse Willems

Melting House III, 2010, © Erwin Wurm
Courtesy Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, Salzburg/ Paris
photo © Jesse Willems

UFO, 2006, © Erwin Wurm
Courtesy Xavier Hufkens Gallery, Brussels
photo © Jesse Willems

Erwin Wurm
photo © Elsa Okazaki

sources:

Middelheim Museum

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