Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac is pleased to present Erwin Wurm's new exhibition Lost, in its Paris Marais gallery space.
The profanity of objects in Erwin Wurm's oeuvre is a fundamental component of his practice. His work includes cucumbers, sausages and also cars and houses, in a wide variety of shapes and forms. The subject matter primarily evokes trust in the viewers, since the objects are supposedly "familiar". In keeping with Aristotelian tradition, the "substance" of things lies in their autonomous reality rather than in the actions of human beings, which attribute meaning to the objects or attempt to wrest their physical secrets from them.
The exhibition Lost will feature Erwin Wurm's latest works, in which materiality plays a significant role during the different steps of the artwork’s conception. The works are primarily developed in correlation to the form of everyday objects and the recollection of the haptic perception of their surfaces and materials. The form could be a body lotion dispenser, a clock, a chaise longue or an armchair. The yellowish acrylic paint on the surface of the work Butter (a fridge) and the creamy white acrylic paint on Body (body lotion dispenser) apparently evince what would normally be the content of the object. The inside and the outside, the shell as a pars pro toto is a recurrent theme in Erwin Wurm’s artworks. In the past, the artist has dressed plinths as body sculptures in clothes.
In the Lost series, it is particularly significant that the works are vintage furniture and objects. The fact that these can be placed in historical and social contexts lend an exceptional presence to the work, evoking associations and emotions in the viewer of a “lost” time, a memory that can stand for the feeling of a whole era.
In a first instance, the clay model initially formed by Erwin Wurm in shapes of everyday objects can vary greatly in size. They can be larger than life, giving the work a surreal notion, or remain true to the actual size of the everyday object. Then, on the clay model, the artist leaves his physical imprint, for example by sitting on it (Sideboard) or walking over it (Snow).
Finally, the artwork is cast into bronze or polyester, taking the materiality to the final, third level. These everyday objects are stripped of their primary functions, the artist having removed their purpose. What becomes visible is a "de-form-ation"; the properties previously inherent in the object have dissolved or mutated. A tension is created between the representation of an everyday object, its deformation by the artist’s own body and the materiality of the work itself.
Works by Erwin Wurm are part of important collections worldwide, from Australia to the USA. In France, his works are present at the Centre Pompidou, Musée d’Art Contemporain/Lyon, CAPC Bordeaux, the FRAC Bourgogne (Dijon), Franche-Comté Limousin, Provence-Alpes Cote d’Azur (Marseille) and Languedoc-Roussillon (Montpellier).
A group exhibition with his One Minute Sculptures at the Tate Modern in London will open in January 2016, as well as a solo exhibition at the MAK Center for Art and Architecture, Schindler House, West Hollywood in California. The works of the exhibition Lost will subsequently be shown at the Berlinische Galerie Museum of Modern Art in Berlin from 15 April until 22 August 2016. In September 2016 Erwin Wurm will open an important solo show at the Museo Novecento in Florence, Italy and on several locations in public spaces.