Our columnist Mike reflects on the way Erwin Wurm (currently showing at Lehman Maupin) refers to his own work by saying:

‘Are there conventional and acceptable ways to mutate the human form? He is “reinventing the language of sculpture”? What does this mean? What is being reinvented? What, of the “language of sculpture” was lost that needs reinventing? It’s exactly these sorts of grand claims that don’t get called. I challenge anyone to explain to me the meaning of this statement, and show how the work illustrates these claims. We are so used to being marketed to that we hardly ever call into question the veracity of the claims put to us.

No saturated fats!
Floating comfort with ABS standard!
Reinvents the language of sculpture!

Then, the press release states: “For Wurm’s series of ‘abstract sculptures’, he has cast a collection of bronze statues that are the visualization of contorted sausage-like forms. as a challenge to our accepted impressions of the world around us and our perceptions of everyday reality, the frankfurter forms evoke anthropomorphic physical qualities and movement, with an anatomy of long ‘limbs’ and ‘bodies’ that visually mimic the recognizable encased meat shape. ” So how is this substantially different than a sock monkey?


The method of display just seems to underline the slapdash nature of the work, but perhaps that is part of the point. I feel that my own work, by attempting to be relevant to the society in which I live, is actually irrelevant in the global Art Market…at least I hope so if this exhibition is the standard of expectation amongst the viewing and purchasing audience…