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ACFNY RECOMMENDED | EXHIBITION
ERWIN WURM: ETHICS ORGANIZED IN GEOMETRICAL ORDER
THURSDAY, MAR 30 - SATURDAY, MAY 27
Lehmann Maupin presents Ethics demonstrated in geometrical order, an exhibition of new One Minute Sculptures by Austrian artist Erwin Wurm. This year marks the 20th anniversary of these audience-activated sculptures, which will also be the focus of Wurm's installation for the Austrian pavilion in the 57th Venice Biennial. Wurm's One Minute Sculptures have influenced a generation of artists by redefining what a sculpture is and how the public engages with the medium.
The basic premise of a One Minute Sculpture remains uniform. For each work, using a drawing or specific text, Wurm directs participants to pose with an object, which have ranged from cleaning products and sneakers to furniture and fruit. The viewer enacts the proposed sculpture on a low plinth, manipulating their body and the predetermined prop in a pose held for a short time. Wurm reiterates that the success of these ephemeral pieces is determined by the exactness with which the directions are executed, stating, "The One Minute Sculptures only come into existence if the public follows precisely the instructions of the artist and free will has a low priority."
For the One Minute Sculptures featured in this exhibition, Wurm employs mid-century modern furniture as props. Participants will navigate these iconic 20th-century furnishing designs, often to unusual effect. By asking for the audience's participation in a way that could make them feel uncomfortable, One Minute Sculptures offer a moment of visceral introspection as a means of provoking an examination of one's own insecurities, thus turning them into subversive "thinking sculptures." Much of Wurm's work, though disturbing, offers an underlying social critique of contemporary culture, particularly in response to the capitalist influences and resulting societal pressures that the artist sees as contrary to our internal ideals.
In addition to the One Minute Sculptures, Wurm will present five new sculptural works in cast bronze and mixed media, including Equitable (2016) and Flat Iron (2016), recreations of two iconic New York buildings that appear to be melting, and Bad Thoughts (2016), created by casting deformed bags of clay. These works are reminiscent of his Fat House (2003) and Fat Car (2001-present) series, where he gave swollen anatomical form to these structures. Together with One Minute Sculptures, this latest body of work reasserts Wurm's continued engagement with everyday objects and familiar forms as a catalyst for challenging and confounding perceptions of space, volume, form, and materiality.
There will be a reception for the artist on Thursday, March 30 at 536 West 22nd Street from 6-8 PM.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Erwin Wurm is a contemporary Austrian artist working across media with a critical approach to visualizing present-day life. Born in 1954 in Bruck an der Mur, Austria, Wurm follows in the tradition of Joseph Beuys with ideas around “social sculpture” with his popular One Minute Sculptures series of short performance pieces, inviting audience participation and interaction in a manner similar to Ernesto Neto’s immersive installations. Currently living and working between Vienna and Limburg, Austria, Wurm studied sculpture at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna, broadening his ideas of what materiality in the discipline could be. His works have been shown internationally including the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, the Musée d’Art Contemporain in Lyon, and the Centre Pompidou in Paris.
Lehmann Maupin Gallery
536 W 22nd Street