Erwin Wurm’s Motley Crew of Suits and Sausages Cuts a Rug at Yorkshire Sculpture Park — Colossal



Art

#Erwin Wurm
#humor
#sculpture

July 12, 2023

Kate Mothes

A large-scale sculpture of an orange water bottle.

“Big Mutter” (2015). All photos by Jonty Wilde, installation at Yorkshire Sculpture Park (2023) courtesy of the artist and Thaddaeus Ropac Gallery. Images courtesy of YSP, © Erwin Wurm, shared with permission

Dancing business suits, a handbag with legs, and contorted vehicles are just a few of the uncanny scenes visitors to Yorkshire Sculpture Park will encounter this summer. Acclaimed Austrian artist Erwin Wurm’s first large-scale museum exhibition in the U.K., Trap of the Truth, includes nearly 75 sculptures indoors and dotted around the landscape, plus numerous drawings, paintings, photographs, and videos created during the past three decades.

Wurm began making art with inexpensive, everyday items like used clothes, scraps of wood, and cans. As he experimented with materials and ideas, he had an epiphany: “At some point, I came to realise that everything surrounding me can be material for an artistic work, absolutely everything… That was the decisive step, as then anything was possible.” Now known for playful, surreal, and often humorous installations, the artist challenges perceptions of the human body, quotidian objects, and sculpture itself.

 

A sculpture of two pink, dancing business suits.

“Big Disobedience” (2016)

Wurm often tangles comically with ideas around politics and culture, referencing capitalism, cultural norms, and social conformity. By giving business suits a life of their own and transforming them from dull gray to playful pink, he separates the wearer from the symbol, freeing them to move about on their own. A giant water bottle, a much-loved object of comfort, is personified with a pair of shoes and titled “Big Mutter”—mutter means “mother” in German—along with other references to his nation’s identity and history, like anthropomorphized Viennese sausages.

The title Trap of the Truth nods to the 17th-century French mathematician and philosopher René Descartes, who immortalized the phrase, “I think, therefore I am,” as he interrogated the subjectivity of truth. Wurm captures a sense of uncanny joy, prompting viewers to question what they see and how they relate to the world around them.

Trap of the Truth continues through April 28, 2024, and you can find more on Yorkshire Sculpture Park’s website. Explore more of Wurm’s work on his website and on Instagram.

 

A chrome or silver sculpture with a cloud for a body and legs with sneakers.

“Big Hypnosis” (2008)

An installation view of a sculpture of a Renault 25 car at an unusual angle.

“Renault 25” (1991)

An installation view of a sculpture of two empty business suits dancing and a tall sculpture of a button-down shirt shaped like a box, with legs.

Left to right: “Big Disobedience” (2016) and “Big Kastenmann” (2012)

Two images side-by-side. The left image shows an empty business suit standing on a lawn. The right image shows a pastel blue Birkin handbag on very long legs.

Left: “Big Suit 2” (2010-2016). Right: “Step (Big)” (2021)

Three sculptures of sausages with arms and legs that appear to be dancing on the lawn.

Left to right: “Untitled” (2018), “Giant Big, Me Ideal” (2014), and “Untitled” (2018)

A sculpture of a Mercedes work truck that bends up a wall.

“Truck II” (2011)

Two sculptures of a briefcase and a suitcase with legs on a lawn.

Left to right: “Dance” (2021) and “Trip” (2021)

#Erwin Wurm
#humor
#sculpture

 

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