MALAGA.- The Centro de Arte Contemporáneo de Málaga
is presenting Am I a House? by Erwin Wurm. Curated by Fernando Francés, it is the most significant exhibition on the Austrian artist to date in Spain. It is displayed in various different spaces within the Centre: the Main Hall houses installations, the Projects Space shows sculptures and Espacio5 is being used to project a video. Grouped around the installation, which takes the form of a house, are sculptures specially made for this exhibition, comprising everyday objects and buildings that are distorted to the point of being unrecognisable. Using his characteristically ironic or critical tone, Wurm sets out to emphasise the saturation of messages that characterises contemporary society, influenced by the media and advertising, and the exaggerated value placed on the image. The Cultural Forum of Austria has collaborated in this exhibition.
Discussing his work, Erwin Wurm (born Austria, 1954) has said: I have always been interested in understanding the interpretation of reality, as existence will inevitably change with succeeding generations. This reflection conveys the Austrian artists perception of his artistic endeavours. Playing with fiction and reality, Wurm conceives and manipulates spaces, objects, buildings and even people through unconventional forms and positions. Using the title Am I a House? Wurm has devised a discourse around the exhibitions principal work (The Narrow House, 2010) in which he presents various everyday objects that he distorts or to which he gives functions very different to their normal ones. Something similar takes place with the human body, which changes in appearance over the years.
For Fernando Francés, director of the CAC Málaga: In Erwin Wurms work we perceive part of every persons life but from a new viewpoint. He makes use of a comic or on occasions dramatic perspective, evident, for example, in his reflection on the fact that if we all get fat why do objects not do so. Using this starting point, every object that he selects becomes susceptible to physical changes, either temporary or permanent, as a result of which it will never be the same again. While it is true that furniture has been used in art by figures such as Marcel Duchamp and Richard Artschwager, in Wurms work it is in some cases unrecognisable or is endowed with totally unconventional functions (Punschkrapferl, 2011).
Wurm has made use of a range of materials with different intentions in his work, all of which, however, emphasise the ephemeral nature of matter and forms. He has now created a group of sculptures that are exhibited for the first time at the CAC Málaga. They take the form of models of buildings, houses and pedestals made in polyester, bronze and aluminium (for example, Small Silver House II of 2012, and Liegen auf Haus (Exfrau) of 2012). In the same gallery there is a projection of his video BEAT and TREAT (2012) in which the artist reveals the creative process behind these works, on some occasions striking or hitting the finished works in order to leave them completely destroyed.
Erwin Wurm offers an ironic reflection on the art world and its context. Whether in a temporary or permanent way, human beings leave a mark on what they do. Similarly, the artists manipulation of objects means that they can never be the same again or have the same uses. Wurms work conveys his critique of what can and cannot be considered a work of art and at what point an object such as a bar becomes a piece of art (Furniture for a Drinker, 2010). The artist humanises objects and the video to be shown in the Centres Espacio5 (Am I a House? 2005) includes one of his best known installations, Fat House (2005). This work is from a series in which Wurm aimed to show that cars and houses can get fat like people.
Erwin Wurm lives and works in Vienna. He initially studied art with the intention of becoming a painter but opted for sculpture following his entrance examination. He has studied at the Academy of Applied Arts and the Academy of Fine Arts, both in Vienna. In addition, he has worked with designers such as Walter van Beirendonck in 2011 and with rock groups such as the Red Hot Chili Peppers in 2003.
Among the most important solo shows of Erwin Wurms work to date have been those held at: the Bass Museum of Art, Miami; Selbstportrait als Essiggurkerl, Museum der Moderne Salzburg, Austria, in 2010; Keep a Cool Head, Central House of Artists, Moscow, in 2008; Musée des Beaux-Arts de Rouen, France, in 2007; Erwin Wurm New Sculptures, Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art, Newcastle, UK, in 2006; the MACRO, Rome, and I love my time, I dont like my time at the Contemporary Art Center, Cincinnati, in 2005; Photo and Video Sculpture by Erwin Wurm at the Kvadra T Gallery in Saint Petersburg, in 2004; One Minute Sculptures at the ACCA Australian Center for Contemporary Art, Melbourne, in 2003; Centre National de la Photographie, Paris, in 2002; Performance Drawings, The Drawing Center, New York, in 2001 and The Photographers Gallery, London, in 2000. His work is represented in the permanent collections of museums such as the Queensland Art Gallery of Australia, the Vancouver Art Gallery, Canada, the Centre Pompidou, Paris, the MAMbo (Museo dArte Moderna di Bologna), Italy, the National Museum of Art, Osaka, Japan, and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, USA, among others.