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Art Taipei 2018 Ocula Report Art Taipei 2018 10 November 201810 Nov 2018 : Diana d’Arenberg for Ocula

'There is nothing more boring than the story of decline,' a journalist remarked at an art criticism panel I attended the evening before making the trip to see Art Taipei (26–29 October 2018). As I attended the opening night of Asia's oldest art fair, which celebrates its 25th anniversary this year, those words rang in my head. Wandering up and down...

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Charwei Tsai Ocula Conversation Charwei Tsai

Taiwanese artist Charwei Tsai's memorising and compulsive writing of the Heart Sutra—a Buddhist scripture that distills the wisdom of impermanence—is at the heart of her practice. Over the past ten years, Tsai has moved from writing to drawing, photography, and film—a selection of which is being presented at the Centre for Chinese...

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Crush at Para Site: What if you couldn’t have it? Ocula Report Crush at Para Site: What if you couldn’t have it? 10 November 201810 Nov 2018 : Hera Chan for Ocula

Drawn on paper by Oscar Chan Yik Long in gestural black ink strokes, Cupid (2015) greets visitors with a sinister toothy smile as they enter Para Site. The strikingly fearsome figure is positioned on the wall of the gallery's entrance, near one of Chen Dandizi's vertical neon tube lights, part of the series 'Tick Away' (2015), along which a...

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Erwin Wurm is primarily a sculptural artist who uses humour and absurdity to create works that comment on life in the present day and the issues contained within. Growing up in post-World War II Austria, his work is often critical of the values of Western society as it evolved and formed in the wake of the war. 

Wurm is renowned for the bizarre quality of many of his works, pushing the boundaries of what sculpture itself means. For example, his ‘One Minute Sculptures’ series limits the lifespan of the sculpture, while others like Toilet (2014) and Mutter (2014) take everyday articles and distort or alter them to create new objects. Our relationships with objects, food, ethics and philosophy are all of significance to this commentary; his interest is in confronting all aspects of human life within contemporary culture.

Wurm’s use of humour is the vital element that unites his critical concepts with an aesthetic approach. It gives the work accessibility. He presents objects and forms that are familiar; they are identifiable, but also distorted or positioned out of context. This plays on the audiences’ understanding of the object as it exists outside of the artwork, and leads them to a conversation between that object, the elements he has distorted and what he is illustrating. 

Fat Convertible (2004), for example, marries the instantly recognizable glossy red figure of a Porsche with the swollen mass of an obese human body. The industrial and biological bodies are inextricably tied together in this way, and thus Wurm invites the viewer to confront a multitude of ideas about how fashions drive an appetite for consumer goods, the fulfilling of which is now tied to the idea of satisfaction in life. 

Fat Convertible also conveys an idea about the significance of internal space. The obese folds of the car come from filling in internal spaces that would otherwise be empty, even though this undeniably destroys the vehicle’s most fundamental shape. These empty spaces are crucial to both its form and function as they speak to the biological body the car is mimicking, how an abundance of consumption affects the shape and space within physical bodies, as well as how we fill the spaces we occupy when we attempt to find satisfaction. Wurm’s works are capable of carrying such loaded concepts yet he retains a true accessibility through comedy. 

Wurm has spoken about his strong and direct manner of communicating, saying ‘I once read that [finding] the short way is the most important thing. I took this maxim to heart.’ His work reflects this conviction. His use of humour to make difficult subject matter easy and accessible is part of a long-standing comedic tradition, and he sees this as facilitating the possibility for light and open conversation around subjects that, while important, may otherwise be hard to discuss. Summing up his goal he says ‘Many artists are good at making the easy difficult. I’m interested in making the difficult easy.’

Amy Millar | Ocula | 2017
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Featured Artworks

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3 Legs (Verschnitskulpturen) by Erwin Wurm contemporary artwork Erwin Wurm3 Legs (Verschnitskulpturen), 2016 Bronze and patina
205.7 x 71.1 x 76.2 cm
Lehmann Maupin Request price & availability
One Minute Sculpture: Organisation of Love by Erwin Wurm contemporary artwork Erwin WurmOne Minute Sculpture: Organisation of Love, 2016 Instruction drawing, Robsjohn-Gibbings ottoman, and realized by public
16.5 x 26.5 x 26.5 cm
Lehmann Maupin Request price & availability
Short bag by Erwin Wurm contemporary artwork Erwin WurmShort bag, 2017 bronze and patina
21.65 x 9.45 x 17.72 inches
Lehmann Maupin Request price & availability
Organization of Love by Erwin Wurm contemporary artwork Erwin WurmOrganization of Love, 2016 Robsjohn-Gibbings ottoman, and realized by public
Lehmann Maupin Request price & availability
One Minute Sculpture: Head TV by Erwin Wurm contemporary artwork Erwin WurmOne Minute Sculpture: Head TV, 2016-2017 Instruction drawing, Danish cabinet, and realized by public
Lehmann Maupin Request price & availability
Deep Snow by Erwin Wurm contemporary artwork Erwin WurmDeep Snow, 2016 instruction drawing, Baker Copenhagen bench, and realized by public
Lehmann Maupin Request price & availability
Spaceship to venus by Erwin Wurm contemporary artwork Erwin WurmSpaceship to venus, 2016 instruction drawing, Aalto Tank lounge chair, model 37, and realized by public
Lehmann Maupin Request price & availability
Salatgurke modernistisch / Modernist Pickle by Erwin Wurm contemporary artwork Erwin WurmSalatgurke modernistisch / Modernist Pickle, 2016 bronze cast and patina
40.94 x 19.69 x 5.91 inches
Lehmann Maupin Request price & availability

Recent Exhibitions

Contemporary art exhibition, Group Exhibition, In Times of Plenty: The Shape of Things Today at Reflex Amsterdam,
Closed
7 July–4 September 2018 Group Exhibition In Times of Plenty: The Shape of Things TodayReflex Amsterdam
Contemporary art exhibition, Erwin Wurm, Ethics demonstrated in geometrical order at Lehmann Maupin,
Closed
30 March–26 May 2017 Erwin Wurm Ethics demonstrated in geometrical orderLehmann Maupin, 536 West 22nd Street, New York

Represented By

Related Press

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At Venice Biennale, Erwin Wurm Makes Sculpture ‘a Form of Action’ Related Press At Venice Biennale, Erwin Wurm Makes Sculpture ‘a Form of Action’ The New York Times : 15 June 2017

For the next five months, an orange freight truck will be standing on its head outside the Austrian Pavilion at the Venice Biennale. Visitors are invited to go up the stairs to a small enclosure at the top, where labels on all sides read: 'Stand quiet and look out over the Mediterranean Sea.'

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Giardini Pavilion Highlights from the 57th Venice Biennale Related Press Giardini Pavilion Highlights from the 57th Venice Biennale Whitewall : 11 May 2017

JAPANESE PAVILION, Takahiro Iwasaki: Turned Upside Down, It's a ForestTakahiro Iwasaki has created a multifaceted spatial experience of viewing the Itsukushima Shrine located in Hiroshima, where the artist was born, raised, and continues to work. Viewers can see the site from the perspective of a bird, insect, or fish, skewing the perception of...

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WHAT TO SEE DURING FRIEZE WEEK 2017 Related Press WHAT TO SEE DURING FRIEZE WEEK 2017 Whitewall : 3 May 2017

Ethics demonstrated in geometrical order will showcase new works from the artist Erwin Wurm's series One Minute Sculptures, which he's been making for 20 years. The series asks viewers to enact a pose with everyday items for just one minute—this time around he's using midcentury modern furniture. These audience-activated sculptures will also...

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'One Minute Sculpture' at Twenty: Erwin Wurm's 'Ethics Demonstrated in Geometrical Order' Related Press 'One Minute Sculpture' at Twenty: Erwin Wurm's 'Ethics Demonstrated in Geometrical Order' Hyperallergic : 1 May 2017

In the twenty years Erwin Wurm has been making his one minute sculptures, the sculptures' Conceptual recipe has remained consistent. Then as now, viewers, prompted by simple written instructions, realize the sculptures by briefly enacting awkward, often humorous or humiliating, poses with repurposed everyday objects such as a desk, a bunch of pens,...

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