05.04 - 31.05.2003

Since the late 80's, by using everyday objects and the human body as material and by making time an essential part of his work, Erwin Wurm has, on one hand, put into question the ways in which sculpture is traditionnaly conceived: How is it possible to create temporary sculpture, which is fixed neither in time nor in space? Can sculpture become an everyday object? At what moment can we say that sculpture becomes performance? Can sculpture be ephemeral? Can an act become a sculpture?

On the other hand, most of his work and working methods array themselves like counterpoints to the fetish principle: dust under glass, which functions as an original and virtually programmatic metaphor; works intended to be "renewed"; photography used as the possibility of infinitely reproducing performance etc…

In other respects, Wurm, by using individuals as sculptural material and by striving for depersonnalisation, is close to the spirit of someone like Beckett and delivers a serious blow to the ethics of Levinas, who pleads for the recognition of the other through the irreducibility of the human face, in particular, and who distrusts any impersonal element that might annihilate the human being. Finally, by partaking of ridicule, absurdity and foolishness - the essential ingredients of his recent works - Wurm contributes to undermining the pathos and drama that are usually associated with artistic process. Like a number of other artists in the 90's who revived the spirit of Fluxus, Dada and other irreverent currents in modern art, Wurm is part of a movement of desecration which has made it possible to question the figure of the artist as a guide for humanity, as someone separated from the everyday and protected from its vicissitudes.

Elisabeth Wetterwald, in Parachute No 105, 2002