Erwin Wurm, 2011
Salzburg Art Project 2011
GURKEN by Erwin Wurm
Sammlung Würth, Inv. 14933
Erwin Wurm (*1954) is the master of biting, off-beat humour. With his hallmark wit and irony, the artist retraces social and civilizational developments and, in so doing, interrogates the conventional concept of sculpture. The essential point of reference in Wurm’s oeuvre – as evidenced, for example, in his work “Gurken” (or cucumbers), which he is planning to install nearby the Furtwängler Park – is the human body, in all its multifaceted individuality.
“The fascination of the diversity of forms, which by virtue of their uniqueness are inexhaustible, is compelling. Although individually different, each cucumber is still immediately identifiable as a cucumber and generically classifiable as such…analogous to man,” explains Erwin Wurm. The cucumber as a banal and ubiquitous object presents an ironic image. Yet by scaling it up to the size of a human body and creating the impression that it is growing out of the tarmac, Wurm confers upon it an individuality and elevates it to the status of an art work. Having recently presented a self-portrait of himself in Salzburg’s Museum of Modern Art as a “pickled cucumber”, the artist leaves his work open to interpretation, hovering as it does between critical irony and playful teasing: for ultimately, don’t we all feel in a bit of a pickle sometimes?