Erwin Wurm

A 70th-Birthday Retrospective

From 13 September 2024

Erwin Wurm | Fat car convertible, 2005 | ALBERTINA, Wien – The ESSL Collection © Bildrecht, Wien 2024 | Foto: © Mischa Nawrata, Wien
Erwin Wurm | Fat car convertible, 2005 | ALBERTINA, Wien – The ESSL Collection © Bildrecht, Wien 2024 | Foto: © Mischa Nawrata, Wien

Today, Erwin Wurm (*1954 Bruck/Mur) numbers among the world’s most successful and well-known contemporary artists. On the occasion of Wurm’s 70th birthday, ALBERTINA MODERN is presenting a first-ever sweeping retrospective featuring his diverse oeuvre in all artistic media.

Alongside the main thread that runs throughout his intense and innovative creative career, namely that of his distinctive sculptures, this presentation also aims to introduce the public to less well-known but equally significant works and work groups. The resulting selection will form a dense network of artistic statements comprising sculptures, drawings, working instructions and documentation, videos, objects, photographs, and paintings that invites us to shine a light on what Wurm himself points to as being ”the paradox and absurd” in our world, our lives, our everyday existence.

In light of the novel sort of hierarchical proportion thus suggested, aspects such as shifted and quirky situations and physical proportions, viewing angles, and an unconventional approach to artworks and actions taken therewith can likewise evoke new realizations.

Erwin Wurm | Mies van der Rohe – melting, 2005 | The ALBERTINA Museum, Vienna – The ESSL Collection © Bildrecht, Vienna 2024 | Photo: Mischa Nawrata
Erwin Wurm | One Minute Sculpture, 1997 | The ALBERTINA Museum, Vienna © Bildrecht, Vienna 2024

Erwin Wurm first achieved international renown with his One Minute Sculptures in which the viewers, by carrying out his sketched and/or written work assignments, themselves become part of the artwork. The instant this occurs, the notion of sculpture undergoes a performative expansion that occasionally defies ephemerality thanks to its conservation in photographic form.

With his Fat Cars and Tiny Houses as well as with his marble sculptures of cucumbers, bread rolls, and sausages or even coveted luxury items such as ladies’ handbags atop longer-than-life human legs, though they all may be outwardly evocative of smiles, Erwin Wurm shines a critical spotlight on consumer society’s manipulative mechanisms and their effects.
              
This exhibition brings together principal works from all stations of Wurm’s artistic career, drawing an arc from the early wooden and dust sculptures of the 1980s to his latest creations. Accompanying it will be an extensive catalog that documents all of the important stations of Erwin Wurm’s artistic career to date in the spirit of this celebratory occasion.

The exhibition is on view at the ALBERTINA MODERN Museum from 13 September 2024 to 23 February 2025.

Erwin Wurm: Fat Car Convertible, 2005

Erwin Wurm | Fat Car Convertible, 2005 | The ALBERTINA Museum, Vienna The Essl Collection © Bildrecht, Vienna 2024

Erwin Wurm: Mies van der Rohe – melting, 2005

Erwin Wurm | Mies van der Rohe – melting, 2005 | The ALBERTINA Museum, Vienna – The ESSL Collection © Bildrecht, Vienna 2024 | Photo: Mischa Nawrata

Erwin Wurm: One Minute Sculpture, 1997

Erwin Wurm | One Minute Sculpture, 1997 | The ALBERTINA Museum, Vienna © Bildrecht, Vienna 2024

Erwin Wurm: Indoor Sculpture Blast, 2002

Erwin Wurm | Indoor Sculpture Blast, 2002 | The ALBERTINA Museum, Vienna. Acquired with funds from a 2009 Gallery Grant of the Federal Ministry for Education, Arts and Culture and from Galerie Thoman © Bildrecht, Vienna 2024

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