• 3

    Instructions on how to be politically incorrect, Inspection, 2002

  • 2

    Don’t trust your Curator, Carrying Edelbert Köb, 2006

  • 1

    Philosophers, Big Gulp, 2009 (Courtesy: Gallery Xavier Hufkens)

  • 4

    Renault 25/1991, 2008 (Courtesy: Beat Curti, Zurich, Switzerland & Galerie Nicola von Senger, Zurich)

  • 5

    One Minute Sculptures, 1997

Art

Erwin Wurm

Posted by Alex Moshakis,

In the 1980s, sculptor Erwin Wurm (b.1954) made the decision to take no work to a gallery show in Bremen, and instead used the objects and people in the immediate vicinity to create transient performative sculptures he then photographed and exhibited. Combining immediate humour and underlying cynicism, which allow for myriad interpretations, the artist has since gone on to question both the traditional definitions of sculpture and much larger social issues.

Wurm’s work is highly-lauded worldwide. When we spoke to him he’d just returned from showing in Paris, and was working on upcoming shows in Vienna, Odense and Copenhagen…

It’s Nice That: A good place to start would be at the beginning…

Erwin Wurm: Exactly, but what’s the beginning? That’s the question…

INT: Well, your work over the last three decades has been defined by or associated with sculpture, but we know you’ve said you originally wanted to study painting, and became a sculptor by coincidence. Why did you want to become an artist in the first place, and what was the coincidence that led you to becoming 
a sculptor?

EW: Well that’s exactly the question my father asked me 
at that time: “Why do you want to become an artist?” I have no idea, it was just there, a huge desire. I got caught, I would say, by the arts and by the fascination for art and literature 
and so on. I grew up in a little bourgeois family, and art and literature and music weren’t really welcome. Those things were considered suspicious even. But for me it opened a door to 
a totally new world – all of a sudden – a place to escape to and discover new things. The wish to become an artist grew slowly. When I was able, after I discussed the question with my father a million times and finally he agreed, I took the exam at art school. At that time the system meant that if you were accepted they would decide in which section you were allowed to study, and they put me in the sculpture class not in the painting class, although I desperately wanted to become a painter.

Then there was big drama and frustration, you know, but 
after a while I started to think about what sculpture means 
and decided to take it as a challenge. From that point on 
I started to research and question sculptural issues. I guess 
I still do it today.

To read the rest of this piece, please purchase the issue here.

Portrait8

Posted by Alex Moshakis

Alex originally joined It’s Nice That as a designer but moved into editorial and oversaw the It’s Nice That magazine from Issue Six (July 2011) to Issue Eight (March 2012) before moving on that summer.

Most Recent: Art View Archive

  1. List

    Head down to Southwark Street just south of the River Thames, and you’ll find Alex Chinneck’s large-scale project, A pound of flesh for 50p. Starting as a life-size two-storey house made out of 8,000 wax bricks, the sculpture will eventually be a mess of rooftop and melted wax come mid-November.

  2. List

    Several artists have attempted to respond to the nude photo scandal, in which private photographs of a number of celebrities were hacked from Apple’s iCloud software and leaked on sites like 4chan and Reddit earlier this year, but few have had any success in harnessing the sense of shock and the eery echo of “have you seen them?” which rippled through the internet in the aftermath.

  3. List-willy

    Writing is rarely a chore. However, sometimes you find yourself working on a piece that reaffirms why internships spent schlepping round Covent Garden in the pissing rain on breakfast compote runs, and hours practising writing “multi-storey carpark” in shorthand are more than worth the irritation.

  4. List

    I don’t care how nice the wallpaper or the lampshades may be, there’s something creepy about the stereotypical American motel featured in films, novels and plays. As if expressly to prove my point, artist Airco Caravan created a series called Crime Scene in which she paints the rooms that have previously played host to murders, suicides and accidental deaths.

  5. List

    Swedish creative Henrik Franklin is a designer, illustrator and animator with two of the world’s leading design schools (Konstfack in Sweden and Rhode Island School of Design) sparkling on his CV. Invited to showcase his considerable talents in Anna Lidberg’s Gallery 1:10 – “the miniature gallery for contemporary art” – Henrik produced a table of tiny tomes and the attention-to-detail on each cover design is really impressive.

  6. Main

    Victoria Siddall has worked at Frieze for just over a decade and two years ago was made Director of Frieze Masters. Excitingly, just a few weeks ago she was appointed Director of Frieze Masters, Frieze New York and Frieze London. As well as being one of the most powerful women in the art world, Victoria is also my sister, so I was curious to find out how she’s feeling on the dawn of her new career.

  7. List

    The Turbine Hall at the Tate Modern has an incredible presence when it’s void of installations, which is what’s so wonderful about the huge enclosed space. As much as I admire the vast emptiness though, it’s even more exciting when a piece of work is placed in the hall and interrupts the vacuum. Opening today, American sculptor Richard Tuttle is the latest commissioned artist to show his work in the space and his 24ft sculpture certainly makes an impact.

  8. Main2

    I came across the work of Matthias Geisler over on Booooooom the other day and was reminded that we hadn’t posted something like this in a while. Matthias’ work is a swirling blend of spirits and creatures that are created with meticulous use of pencil crayons and water-colours. Is it me or are watercolours real in at the moment? All the cool kids seem to be using them.

  9. 8

    A kind of magic happens when Seth Armstrong puts brush to canvas. Having only been familiar with his work for the Mr Porter Journal, I became instantly bewitched by his paintings when clicking through his website.

  10. List

    Whatever the some naysayers may claim there is an art to collage and not everyone can do it, despite how good you think your teenage collages of cut-out red lips, Leonardo DiCaprio and puppies were. Anthony Zinonos is the perfect example of this, having featured on the site previously he’s updated his portfolio with some really cool bits and bobs.

  11. List

    There’s something very fun and raw about Jessica Hans’ vases and her approach to ceramics in general. Based in Philadelphia, she’s had a longstanding interest in foraging and raw materials since university; this has carried over into her ceramics work, which in the past has seen her driving to clay sites, digging her materials out of the ground and then firing them in their original state to see what would happen.

  12. Listt

    “To be an artist and for anyone to care vaguely about what you do is a great thing,” says street artist Moose in this fascinating new Nissan campaign, but his work is more important than most. As the inventor of reverse graffiti – whereby he uses a high-powered pressure washer to stencil imagery in the dirt that accumulates in our cities – Moose’s work asks questions about our attitudes to pollution in a very creative way.

  13. List

    To stare into a Danny Fox painting is like waking up in a world written by Charles Bukowski on a particularly heavy bender. There’s sex and drinking and guns, plus boxers and strippers and cowboys; here a horse, there a tiger. It’s intense and unnerving and exciting, but although there’s something very contemporary about Danny’s paintings, his rise to prominence owes a great deal to the support of a more well-established artist (an age-old route for up-and-coming artistic stars).