Erwin Wurm presents a series of works that discuss the human body, not only from the physical aspect, but also from its psychological and spiritual layers.

The House
His pieces bring everyday elements into the realm of art, reconfiguring familiar objects such as houses, cars, clothes, and food into an unexpected, humorous context that simultaneously criticizes contemporary society.

These inanimate elements gain organic life - an obese house, a thin toilet, a sausage full of personality, and an overweight car.

Wurm seeks to push the definition of sculpture to the limit. He is primarily a sculptor who presents a narrative of the everyday transformed by the potencial of three-dimensionality.

The English Artist Antony Gormley once said that the true raw material of sculpture is energy, the heat needed to modify a material until it reaches the "condition of art".

There's no point in stealing a bronze sculpture because its value is not in its physical material, but in the emanation of the energy (measured in calories) of the furnace that sculpted it.

Metaphorically, we can assume that the same energy that results in a bronze or iron sculpture is the energy that sculpts our bodies.

The calorie that makes us gain or lose weight is the same force that wrestles with the forms of the sculpture.

You are the sculptor of your body and the calorie is the raw material of this sculpture.

"The body as the work, the work as body", as the Portuguese sculptor Antonio Manuel would say.

The Artist Who Swallowed the World
Consumption - from what we eat to what we long to possess - is a recurring topic in the works of the Austrian artist.

Wurm makes the word "diet" take on the dimension of an exercise in contemporary faith.

"The diet" he says, "is like a philosophy that is part of our daily life: on the one hand, it has a physical aspect, and on the other, a spiritual dimension."

This ambiguity makes it possible to refer both to the diet of consumerism and to the diet of foods: both reveal an existence within the dimension of excess.

And, as William Blake would say, "The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom" (The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, 1793).

Food
Erwin Wurm gives new meaning to the role of the body in art, giving materiality to things that did not have it.

He transforms the car, the sausage, the cucumber and the house into sculptural material, and inscribes them with a symbolic dimension, of our time, in which the banal is object of constant appreciation and boredom can be enshrined.

Erwin Wurm's great trump is to exist within a territory, often cynical, of contemporary art with a work that manages to be critical, while remaining accessible.

His art pieces can subvert and at the same time draw the audience to a reflective dimension that is, simutaneously, fun and inclusive.

One Minute Sculptures
Long before the idea of interactivity, social networks and the epidemic of selfies, Wurm created something that would be a simulation of a behavior not yet foreshadowed.

In the late 1980s, he began the series One Minute Sculptures, which became emblematic, prefiguring the irreverent and self-referential behavior that the Internet would popularize.

The work never exists until it meets its public: it happens in the presence of its context.

As it should be in the ideal of art, where the work resides in observation, in Wurm the work resides at the meeting point between the artist's intention and the public's disposition.

Wurm is a fisherman of the eye, never losing sight of inoculating the mind with the virus of uncertainty, which makes us doubt what our eyes see.
Credits: Story

Erwin Wurm - The Body is The House
Curator: Marcello Dantas
Text: Marcello Dantas
April/June 2017 - Brasília
Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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