Erwin Wurm (born 1954) is an Austrian artist.
Since the late 1980's he has developed an ongoing series of "One Minute Sculptures," in which he poses himself or his models in unexpected relationships with everyday objects close at hand, prompting the viewer to question the very definition of sculpture. He seeks to use the "shortest path" in creating a sculpture -- a clear and fast, sometimes humorous, form of expression. As the sculptures are fleeting and meant to be spontaneous and temporary, the images are only captured in photos or on film.
In The artist who swallowed the world (Hatje Cantz) Wurm is quoted as saying: "I am interested in the everyday life. All the materials that surrounded me could be useful, as well as the objects, topics involved in contemporary society. My work speaks about the whole entity of a human being: the physical, the spiritual, the psychological and the political."
About the use of humor in his work, Wurm says in an interview: "If you approach things with a sense of humor, people immediately assume you're not to be taken seriously. But I think truths about society and human existence can be approached in different ways. You don't always have to be deadly serious. Sarcasm and humor can help you see things in a lighter vein."
He is mentioned in the Red Hot Chili Peppers music video Can't Stop, in which a sign states that his art was an inspiration for the video. In a recent iTunes interview Flea is quoted as saying Wurm's picture of a man with a pencil in his nose was a significant influence on the video (Flea himself appears in the video, at a certain point, with markers in his nostrils, pencils in his ears and paint pot caps over his eyes). The photos in "One Minute Sculptures" were impulsively made and are quite bizarre. Erwin Wurm has also made a sculpture named 'fat car' (an image of a sportscar carrying copious amounts of fat), among many others.
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