On April 27, the Ayala Museum will be hosting the works of renowned Austrian artist Erwin Wurm - the first time that Wurm’s works will be exhibited in the Philippines. In partnership with 1335 Mabini, the exhibition will be showcasing pieces from the One Minute Sculptures series and presenting his Knitted Wall, bringing in Wurm’s signature humor and zaniness to the museum.
A renowned international artist, Erwin Wurm is known for his surreal and eclectic sculptural works. Aside from the One Minute Sculptures, he is also known for his Fast Cars Series, the Narrow House, and Melted Buildings. Wurm recently represented Austria in the 57th Venice Biennale in 2017 together with Brigitte Kowanz.
Wurm’s One Minute Sculptures began in the late 1990s and in no surprise has continued on to this day, even permeating popular culture, serving as inspiration to the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ music video Can’t Stop. With One Minute Sculptures, Wurm flips the script on the common museum etiquette of “Do Not Touch the Art” and asks the viewers to do the complete opposite. Being coy and admiring the art from afar won’t work in this exhibit. The only way to fully appreciate Wurm’s sculptures is to touch and engage with it. Through written or illustrated directions, the viewer is tasked to become a part of the art, becoming the final element that completes the One Minute Sculpture. “It was not clear to me from the beginning that people would be attracted to the One Minutes or find them interesting,” said Wurm in a recent interview. “After a certain time, I realized that this… became very strong for me and that I wanted to go along with this.”
The One Minute Sculptures are often made up of everyday objects being used in unusual situations. Whether it’s strategically placed plastic bottles, floating chairs and basins, or oversized sweaters, Wurm creates a new way of experiencing these objects; particularly through eccentric and amusing poses with the objects. Since the participating viewer can’t see how he looks like as the final flourish of the One Minute Sculpture, photography then becomes essential to complete the experience. Speaking about the role of photography in his art he said, “At the beginning, the public was allowed to take pictures of themselves with Polaroids and this automatically transferred to the selfie-generation by itself.”
Using humor as the point of entry of the viewers, everyday situations become comical and absurd. But Wurm engages the viewers to look past the absurdity to something more poignant. Erwin Wurm at the Ayala Museum will be on show from 27 April 2018 – 10 June 2018. For more information visit www.ayalamuseum.org.