Become a sculpture
Tuesday 25 September 2012 Share FacebookDelicious Email

Erwin Wurm | Instructional drawing (detail) 2012 | Plinth, found objects, instructional drawing, realised by the public | Commissioned for ‘Sculpture is Everything’ | Collection: The artist © The artist

Sculpture is Everything‘ explores the extraordinarily diverse and surprising field of contemporary sculpture.

Though not grand in scale or complicated technically, the video One minute sculptures by Erwin Wurm has become a favourite work in the Collection. In the video Wurm choreographs people and objects in awkward positions for up to a minute in duration. The sculpture dissipates when the precariously balanced objects fail to hold, or the participant becomes bored. The work brings out a ephemeral performance of sculpture rather than those that galleries attempt to preserve art works for posterity — although the video recording of the performance is preserved. 

Erwin Wurm, Austria b.1954 | One minute sculptures 1997 | DVD: 47 minutes, colour, stereo | Purchased 2003. Queensland Art Gallery Foundation Grant | Collection: Queensland Art Gallery | © The artist

Sculpture is Everything’ was a great opportunity to bring this video to life in the gallery by commissioning one of Wurm’s instructional works which consists of a written instruction, a drawing of the instruction being played out, and the necessary props. Previous pieces have included ‘Lean against the wall and think about the void’ or ‘Put your head in the sacco and think of Sigmund Freud’. Recently Wurm has been creating drinking sculptures, each dedicated to to a famous (artist) drinker — from Jackson Pollock to Martin Kippenberger. The participant must stand within a modified piece of furniture and drink the alcohol provided; Wurm says the work is only completed when the viewer is drunk! 

Erwin Wurm, Austria b.1954 | Sigmund Freud modern…, instructional drawing 2006 | Instructional drawing realised by member of the public | Installation view,The Museum of Modern Art, Saitama, Japan, 2006 | Images courtesy: The artist © The artist

Visitors to GOMA come across a plinth with a pile colourful plastic cleaning containers and a toilet brush. On the wall above the plinth is a drawing that includes these object and a person who is precariously balancing them against the architecture of the gallery, written below the drawing is an invitation from Wurm ‘Follow the instruction and realize the piece.’ Laughter and plastic hitting the floor can be heard across the gallery as attempts to become a sculpture are momentarily realised only to come to a crashing halt. On behalf of Erwin Wurm, I would like to invite you into the gallery to realise the work. 

Sculpture is Everything the accompanying publication explores the diverse and often unexpected forms we may consider sculptural and is available from the QAGOMA Store.

Erwin Wurm | Instructional drawing 2012 | Plinth, found objects, instructional drawing, realised by the public | Commissioned for ‘Sculpture is Everything’ | Collection: The artist © The artist