Art in the Elevator: Erwin Wurm. One Minute Sculptures
Erwin Wurm (1954 Bruck an der Mur, AT – Limberg, AT) is one of Austria’s most successful contemporary artists. His work encompasses a wide spectrum from photography and video work to drawings and books to sculptures and large-scale works in public spaces. The Museum der Moderne Salzburg owns a large group of works by the artist, including a “self-portrait as a pickled gherkin” (2008) as well as numerous photo series and videos. Central to the artist’s work is his aim “to show everyday life from a different perspective,” as he himself puts it. Humor plays an important role in this.
The One Minute Sculptures are among Wurm’s best-known groups of works. Using video and photography, the artist documents short performances with everyday objects, sometimes also involving exhibition visitors in these performances. The instruction is to hold a certain position for sixty seconds, while interacting with an object. In the process, the boundary between subject and object is blurred. Both performance and sculpture at the same time, One Minute Sculptures are simple acts or gestures, which nevertheless raise serious questions about the nature of idea-based art. Wurm thus clearly extends the concept of sculpture to include social and temporal aspects. The video is the first in an ongoing series of works.