Vienna-based sculptor Erwin Wurm has a history of using whatever objects and materials are at hand. In the early days, it was because he couldn’t afford to buy them; his first sculptural works were therefore made of wood, because he lived above a wood shop, and the next batch were made using cans and buckets (because he had moved near a factory that produced them).
These images are from his One Minute Sculptures series, begun in the late 1990s, in which the works themselves have been created on the spot using whatever objects, participants, and backgrounds were available. These creations were then documented photographically and on film, and the earliest such visuals are about to go on display at the Open Eye Gallery, Liverpool – the first UK exhibition entirely devoted to the project.
The improvised nature of the images, populated by ordinary people and everyday objects, declare the fun, playfulness and spontaneity that must have gone into the making of each picture. The interesting thing is that, in spite of this, there remain darker connotations of assault, warfare, and ritual violence. Perhaps it is the co-existence of the imaginative, child-like activity alongside those more unsavoury allusions that makes them so unusual and engaging.
Erwin Wurm: One Minute Sculptures runs from June 22 to September 2.