Erwin Wurm (Austrian, b.1954) is an artist best known for his strange depictions of everyday life and his humorous approach to the Formalism style. He was born in Bruck an der Mur and studied at the Academy of Applied Arts in Vienna and the Academy of Fine Arts in Austria. Wurm takes everyday object such as nails, screws, and almost anything else, and creates breathtaking sculptures that make people question exactly what defines a sculpture. He has been working on One Minute Sculpturessince the late 1980s; in these works, a model poses with everyday objects, but in a strange and almost unnatural way.

These sculptures are created almost instantaneously and with little thought beforehand. The images are pornographic or violent, and they are outside the realm of what the objects are supposed to be used for. Since the sculptures are so spontaneous, they are not crafted in traditional mediums and instead are captured with film. Humor is an integral facet of Wurm's work. While many other artists prefer to see their work as poignant and serious, he has no problem eliciting a few chuckles. In Truck, a truck curves up against a building, and in House, the artist presents a small house that is the very definition of claustrophobia.

Wurm’s work involves taking something mundane and enlarging, curving, or otherwise distorting it. His goal is to cause the viewer to look closer at the sculpture and find its true meaning. His notoriety has extended beyond the art world and was mentioned in the Red Hot Chili Pepper video Can't Stop as an inspiration for their imagery. Worm has stated that his inspiration comes from a love of everyday life, and that everything around him is useful and a part of his creative process. One of Wurm's most recent pieces is called Fat Car, which shows large life-sized sculptures that are obese and puffy. His works have been shown at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York and Vienna, the Musee d'Art Contemporain in Lyon, France, and the Centre Pompidou in France. Wurm resides in Vienna and Limburg, Austria.

Timeline

1954
Born in Bruck/Mur, Austria
Lives and works in Vienna and New York

Exhibitions

2012
Gold, Österreichische Galerie Belvedere, Vienna, Austria
2012
CAC Málaga – Centro de Arte Contemporáneo, Málaga, Spain (solo)
2012
Dallas Contemporary, Dallas, USA
 (solo)
2012
Albertina, Vienna, Austria (solo)
2011–2012
Beauty Business, Bass Museum of Art, Miami Beach, USA (solo)
2011–2012
new sculptures, Galerie Elisabeth & Klaus Thoman, Innsbruck, Austria (solo)
2011
The Beauty Business, gem – Museum voor Actuele Kunst, Gemeentemuseum Den Haag, The Hague, Netherlands (solo)
2011
Bass Museum of Art, Miami Beach, USA (solo)
2011
Schöner Wohnen, MAK – Museum für angewandte Kunst, Vienna, Austria (solo)
2011
Wear me out, Middleheimmuseum, Antwerp, Belgium (solo)
2011
Misconceivable, Kunsthallen Brandts / Brandts Klaedefabrik, Odense, Denmark (solo)
2011
Yes Biological, Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, Paris, France (solo)
2011
Micro-Retrospective, Institute of Contemporary Art – Sofia (ICA-Sofia), Sofia, Bulgaria (solo)
2011
Superstress, 54th Biennale di Venezia, Palazzo Cavalli Franchetti, Venice, Italy
2011
The Original Copy: Photography of Sculpture 1839 to Today, Kunsthaus Zürich, Zurich, Switzerland
2011
Car Culture – Medien der Mobilität, ZKM, Zentrum für Kunst und Medientechnologie, Karlsruhe, Germany
2010
The Original Copy: Photography of Sculpture, 1839 to Today, MoMA, Museum of Modern Art, New York, USA
2010
Atopia, CCCB, Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona, Spain
2010
Liquid Reality, Kunstmuseum Bonn, Bonn, Germany (curator: Stephan Berg) (solo)
2010
Narrow Mist, UCCA – Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing, China (curator: Jerome Sans) (solo)
2010
Private Wurm, Kunst der Gegenwart – Essl Museum, Vienna, Austria (solo)
2010
Selbstportrait als Essiggurkerl, Museum der Moderne Salzburg, Austria (solo)
2010
Elogiate i ceti inferiori soprattutto per rimanere inferiori, BASE, Progetti per L’Arte, Firenze, Italy (solo)
2010
Gulp, Lehmann Maupin Gallery, New York, USA (solo)
2010
Project – Selfportrait as Pickles, Jack Hanley Gallery, New York, USA (solo)
2009
Desperate Philosophers, Galerie Xavier Hufkens, Brussels, Belgium (solo)
2009
The Desperate Philosophers – Neue Skulpturen, Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac Salzburg, Austria (solo)
2009
3rd Moscow Biennial, Moscow, Russia (curator: Jean-Hubert Martin)
2008
Art of Participation: 1950 to Now, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, USA
2008
Ich – Es – Überich, Tomio Koyama Gallery, Tokyo, Japan (solo)
2008
Hypnose II, Galerie Krinzinger, Vienna, Austria (solo)
2008
Galerie Nicola von Senger, Zurich, Switzerland (solo)
2008
Tell, Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, Salzburg, Austria (solo)
2007
Deichtorhallen Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany (solo)
2007
Kunstmuseum St. Gallen, Switzerland (solo)
2007
Musée d’Art Contemporain Lyon, Lyon, France (solo)
2007
Malmö Konstmuseum, Malmö, Sweden (solo)
2007
Galerie Xavier Hufkens, Brussels, Belgium (solo)
2007
Erwin Wurm, Cristina Guerra Contemporary Art, Lisbon, Portugal (solo)
2007
Affinities- Deutsche Guggenheim, 1997-2007, Guggenheim in Berlin, Berlin, Germany
2007
All about laughter: role of humors in contemporary art, Mori Art Museum, Tokyo, Japan
2007
I am future melancholic, Tate Modern, London, UK
2007
Il était une fois, l’École d’Arts Plastiques de Vitrolles, Vitrolles, France
2007
Salon de la Kakanie, Central House of Artists, Moscow, Russia
2007
Hamlet, Kunsthaus Zürich, Switzerland (solo)
2006
All the Best. The Deutsche Bank Collection and Zaha Hadid, Singapore Art Museum, Singapore
2006
Le mouvement des images, Centre Pompidou, Paris, France
2006
Simultan, zwei Sammlungen österreichischer Fotographie, Fotomuseum Winterthur, Winterthur, Switzerland
2006
Display of UBS Collection, Tate Modern, London, UK
2006
Art and Play, Museum of Modern Art, Saitama, Japan
2006
Adorno was wrong with his ideas about art, Museum der Moderne Salzburg, Austria (solo)
2006
Home, Galerie Anne de Villepoix, Paris, France (solo)
2006
Disziplin der Subjektivität, Kunstraum Innsbruck, Austria (solo)
2006
Keep a cool head, MUMOK Museum moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig Wien, Vienna, Austria (solo)
2006
The artist who swallowed the world, Ludwig Forum für Internationale Kunst, Aachen, Germany (solo)
2006
Erwin Wurm. New Sculpture, Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead, UK (solo)
2006
The Idiot, Sala de Exposiciones Canal de Isabel II, Madrid, Spain (solo)
2006
I love my time, I don’t like my time: Recent works by Erwin Wurm, Rose Museum at Brandeis University, Waltham, Massachusetts, USA / Frye Art Museum, Seattle, USA (solo)
2006
SECCA, Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art, Winston Salem, USA (solo)
2006
Deichtorhallen Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany (solo)
2006
CAPC Musée d’art contemporain, Bordeaux, France (solo)
2005
Galerie Ars Futura, Zurich, Switzerland (solo)
2005
Galerie Anne de Villepoix, Paris, France (solo)
2005
Galerie Aurel Scheibler, Cologne, Germany (solo)
2005
Drive. Automobili nell’Arte Contemporanea, GAM, Galleria d’Arte Contemporanea Bologna, Italy
2005
Erwin Wurm, MACRO Museo d'Arte Contemporanea Roma, Italy (solo)
2005
Glue your brain, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, Australia (solo)
2005
Erwin Wurm, Peggy Guggenheim Collection,Venice, Italy (solo)
2005
Rundlederwelten, Gropiusbau, Berlin, Germany
2005
In the Line of Flight, China Millenium Art Museum, Bejing, China
2005
Erwin Wurm, Museo do Chiado, Lisbon, Portugal (solo)
2005
Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, Australia (solo)
2005
I love my time, I don’t like my time: Recent works by Erwin Wurm, Cincinnati Contemporary Art Center, Cincinnati, USA (solo)
2005
Galerie Nicola von Senger, Zurich, Switzerland (solo)
2005
Am I a House?, Galerie Krinzinger, Vienna, Austria (solo)
2005
The Idiot, Galerie Xavier Hufkens, Brussels, Belgium (solo)
2005
Biennale d'Art Contemporain de Lyon, Lyon, France (curators: Jérome Sans, Nicolas Bourriaud)
2005
Snow white and the seven dwarfs, Fundación Marcelino Botín, Santander (curator: Udo Kittelmann)
2005
Spielräume, Wilhelm Lehmbruck Museum - Zentrum Internationaler Skulptur, Duisburg, Germany
2005
Situation Comedy: Humor in recent art, The Contemporary Museum, Honolulu, Hawaii/ Chicago Cultural Center, Chicago/ Winnipeg Art Gallery, Winnipeg, Manitoba
2005
Sweet Temptations, Kunstverein St. Gallen Kunstmuseum, Switzerland
2005
Marking Time, Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions, The Getty Center, Los Angeles, USA
2005
Scultura leggera Light Sculpture, 503 Mulino, Vicenza
2005
Munch revisited, Museum am Ostwall, Ausstellungshalle der Stadt Dortmund, Germany
2005
Polaroid als Geste, Museum für Photographie, Braunschweig, Germany
2004
Seville International Biennial of Contemporary Art, Seville (curator: Harald Szeemann)
2004
Photo and Video Sculpture by Erwin Wurm, KvadraT Gallery, St. Petersburg, Russia (solo)
2004
I love my time, I don’t like my time, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco, USA (solo)
2004
European Dream, Universidad de Guanajuato, Guanajuato, Mexico (curator: Pamela Echeverria) (solo)
2004
TRAC Tecnologie e Ricerca Artistica Contemporanea, Palazzo Fichera, Centro per l’Arte Contemporanea, Catania, Italy (solo)
2004
International Biennial Foundation of Contemporary Art of Seville, Sevilla, Spain
2004
Arti & Architettura, 1900-2000, Palazzo Ducale, Genoa, Italy
2004
Skulptur. Prekärer Realismus zwischen Melancholie und Komik, Kunsthalle, Vienna, Austria
2004
Ich will, dass Du mir glaubst!, 9. Triennale Kleinplastik Fellbach, Fellbach, Germany
2004
Orozco - Wentworth - Wurm, FotoGrafia - International Rome Festival, The Andersen Museum, Rome, Italy
2004
Soziale Kreaturen – wie Körper Kunst wird, Sprengel Museum, Hannover, Germany
2004
Global World - Private Universe, Kunstmuseum St.Gallen, St.Gallen, Switzerland
2004
Von Angesicht zu Angesicht – Das Antlitz des Menschen in der Kunst, Kunstmuseum St.Gallen, St.Gallen, Switzerland
2004
Porträts. Picasso, Bacon, Warhol …, Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig Wien, Vienna, Austria
2004
Vision einer Sammlung, Museum der Moderne Salzburg, Salzburg, Austria
2004
Farbige Plastik, Museum der Moderne Rupertinum, Salzburg, Austria
2004
Le proche et le lointain, Domaine de Kerguéhennec, Centre d'art contemporain, Bignan, France
2004
LASTWINTERSPRINGNEVERCAME, Platform Garanti Contemporary Art Center, Istanbul, Turkey
2004
Paisaje después de la tormenta [Landscape after the storm], T20 Gallery, Murcia, Spain
2004
Dessins et des autres, Galerie Anne de Villepoix, Paris, France
2004
Exposition collective de sculpture, Anne de Villepoix, Paris, France
2004
Dessins et des autres – part II, Galerie Catherine Bastide, Brussels, Belgium
2004
A 20 h Prêts à prêter 1, Frac Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur, Marseille, France
2004
Close Reading #3, objectif_exhibitions, Antwerp, Belgium
2004
Art Unlimited, Art 35 Basel, Switzerland
2004
Krinzinger Österreich, Künstler der Galerie (A), Galerie Krinzinger, Vienna, Austria
2004
Virtual Frame, Kunsthalle Wien project space Karlsplatz, Vienna, Austria
2004
Haus und Körper, Galerie Francoise Heitsch, Munich, Germany
2004
4ème Biennale de la Photographie et des Arts visuels, Centre Culturel "Les Chiroux", Liège, Belqium
2004
Brooklyn Euphoria Festival, Brooklyn Academy of Music, New York, USA
2004
Grotesque, burlesque et parody, Abbaye Saint-André, Centre d'Art Contemporain, Meymac, France
2004
Galerie Espai Lucas, Valencia, Spain (solo)
2004
Jack Hanley Gallery, San Francisco, USA (solo)
2004
Jack Hanley Gallery, Los Angeles, USA (solo)
2003
European Dream, Museo de Arte Carrillo Gil, Col San Angel, Mexico City / Casa ITESO-Clavigero, Guadalajara, Mexico (curator: Pamela Echeverria) (solo)
2003
Erwin Wurm – One Minute Sculptures/Orifice, Melbourne International Festival, ACCA Australian centre for Contemporary Art / Gertrude Contemporary Art Spaces, Melbourne, Australia (solo)
2003
Erwin Wurm videos, RISD - Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, USA (solo)
2003
One Minute Sculptures, Erwin Wurm, Mairies des 13e et 14e arrondissements, FRAC-PACA (Fonds régional d'art contemporain Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur), Marseille, France (solo)
2003
Galerie Ars Futura, Zurich, Switzerland (solo)
2003
Unlimited Contemporary Art, Athens, Greece (solo)
2003
Galerie Anne de Villepoix, Paris, France (solo)
2003
Galerie Aurel Scheibler, Cologne, Germany (solo)
2003
Galeria La Fabrica, Madrid, Spain (solo)
2003
Hilfe, Graz, Galerie Eugen Lendl, Graz, Austria (solo)
2003
ZKM , Center for Art and Media, Karlsruhe, Germany (solo)
2002
Fat Survival – Handlungsformen der Skulptur, Neue Galerie Graz am Landesmuseum Joanneum, Graz, Austria (solo)
2002
Centre National de la Photographie, Paris, France (solo)
2002
Galleria d’Arte Moderna, Bologna, Italy (solo)
2002
Erwin Wurm, Palais de Tokyo, Paris, France (solo)
2002
Sculptures with embarrassment, Studio K, Kiasma, Museum of Contemporary Art, Helsinki, Finland (solo)
2002
Erwin Wurm Videoarbeiten 1989-2002, Akademie der bildenden Künste, Budapest, Hungary (solo)
2002
Galerie Art:Concept, Paris, France (solo)
2002
Jack Hanley Gallery, San Francisco, USA (solo)
2002
Vendanta Gallery, Chicago, USA (solo)
2002
Galerie Häusler, Munich, Germany (solo)
2001
Performance Drawings, Drawing Centre, New York, USA (solo)
2001
Sleeping for two months, Centre pour l´Image Contemporaine, Geneva, Switzerland (solo)
2001
Videos 1991 – 2001, Miro Foundation, Barcelona, Spain (solo)
2001
Fat car, MAMCO Museé d’Art Moderne et Contemporain, Geneva, Switzerland (solo)
2001
Galerie Ars Futura, Zurich, Switzerland (solo)
2001
Galeria Espai Luca, Valencia, Spain (solo)
2001
Galerie Krinzinger, Vienna, Austria (solo)
2001
Galerie The Box, Turin, Italy (solo)
2000
Photographers Gallery, London, England (solo)
2000
F.R.A.C. Limousin, Limoges, France (solo)
2000
Feelings, L´Ecole des Beaux-arts, Rouen, France (solo)
2000
Jack Hanley Gallery, San Francisco, USA (solo)
2000
Unlimited Contemporary Art, Athens, Greece (solo)
2000
Galerie Art : Concept, Paris, France (solo)
1999
Project wall, Rosamund Felsen Gallery, Los Angeles, USA (solo)
1998
Institute of Visual Arts, UW, Milwaukee, USA (solo)
1997
Me, me fat watching TV, Galleria The Box, Turin, Italy (solo)
1982
Neue Skulptur, Galerie nächst St. Stephan, Vienna, Austria
1982
Triumph Skulptur, Galerie Rolf Ricke, Cologne, Germany
1981
Forum Stadtpark, Graz, Austria (solo)

Literature

2005
ARTFORUM International, January 2005, New York, USA, p. 187
2005
Flash Art, January-February 2005, Vol. XXXVIII, No.240, Mailand, Italy, p. 117
2004
Verhagen, Eric. "L’échec sculptural de Erwin Wurm." Art Press (Paris, France), Number 307, December, pp. 18-23, cover.
2004
Marsola, Helga. “Erwin Wurm.” Flash Art (Milan, August/September), p. 128.
2004
Marsola, Helga. “Erwin Wurm,” EXIBART on paper (Florence, June/July).
2004
Contemporary (London), no. 60, p. 74.
2004
Olivares, Rosa. “Este no es un texto de un minuto/This is not a one minute text.” EXIT (Madrid), no. 13, pp. 72–93.
2004
Olivares, Rosa. “Teoría, teóricos, teorética, teorizante . . . teomanía.” EXITBOOK (Madrid), no. 3, pp. 4–5.
2004
Jarque, Vicente. “Sencillo y hondo.” El País (Madrid), February 14, p. 17.
2004
Carrasco, Alex. “Erwin Wurm, No lo llames burla.” NEO2 (Madrid), no. 33 (February/March), pp.57–58.
2003
Cash, Stefanie: Stand-Up Artist in: Art in America, December, New York, USA, pp.84-87, cover.
2003
Gavulová, Lucia: Kto je Erwin Wurm? in: VLNA, no. 16, Bratislava, Slovakia, pp.4-11.
2003
Fanchette, Frédérique: Simplement incorrect in: Libération, November 14, France, pp.38-39.
2003
Vozmediano, Elena: Wurm y la escultura efimera in: El Cultural, 18.9.2003, p. 29.
2003
Kissler, Alexander: Das Orakel der Steiermark in: Süddeutsche Zeitung, Nr. 152, 5./6. July, p. 17.
2003
Schlüter, Ralf: Kopf in den Eimer in: ART, Hamburg, Deutschland, Nr. 6, June, p. 135.
2003
Kröner, Magdalena, Körper auf den Punkt gebracht in: die tageszeitung, Berlin, Germany, March 27, p. 16.
2003
Reininghaus, Alexandra: Eine Skulptur für alle Fälle in: ART, Hamburg, Germany, Nr. 4, April, p.18 - 25.
2003
Adbusters, Blaine, WA, USA, Jan/Feb Vol 11 No.1, pp. 29 & 34.
2003
Erwin Wurm in: Time Out, May 1-7, No. 11, p. 100.