Erwin Wurm. Trans Formam

  • When:   September 24, 2022 - March 18, 2023

Contemporary art

Erwin Wurm. Trans Formam

Erwin Wurm (Bruc an der Mur, 1954), one of the leading exponents of international contemporary art, is displaying his works in a specifically designed project at the Galleria Poggiali in Florence, opening on Saturday 24 September 2022. The show also includes the world premiere installation in nearbyPiazza Santa Maria Novella, starting on Wednesday21 September 2022,of the Salsiccia Fat Bus, a performative work to be activated through the direct involvement of the public, organised by Muse and in collaboration with the Museo Novecento of Florence.

This first complete and structured show to be held in Italy comprises around twenty-two works, most of them specially produced, selected to represent the polyhedric quality of Erwin Wurm’s sculptures, along with a series of oils-on-canvas produced for the occasion.The objects in question are distorted, exaggerated, overblown versions of pivotal aspects of contemporary society, such as cars, junk food, houses and consumerism in general, interpreted with an astute wit by exploding their normal appearance.

Salsiccia Fat Busconsists of a real, bright lilac minibus, fully equipped for the actual preparation and distribution of hot dogs, but ironically modified using polyurethane to make it anomalous. The public will be able to request and consume the food in exchange for an offering which will be devolved to a Florentine institution to support works of charity.

As the curator Helmut Friedel says: ‘Processes of change are, generally, a part of life. Erwin Wurmbecame famous for his One-Minute Sculptures in which he asked ordinary people to hold a particular pose, interacting with everyday objects for just one minute. In this way the figure, the body, is transformed into a different shape, frequently with a rather absurd connotation.All Wurm’s sculpture is synonymous with transformation: matter is transformed into a substrate of the image. In his works, the transformation of the figurealso extends to the objects it enters into relation with: cars that are overweight (like their owners), frankfurters that deform the appearance of cars and houses, or that simply kiss each other; a shopping bag that sets off to do the shopping on its own legs. The TRANS FORMAM exhibition offers us an exceptional tracking shot of the facets that these mutations and variations of reality can assume, finding their embodiment in the sculptures of Erwin Wurm.’

So, the project includes iconic works consisting of everyday objects such as Big Kiss, with frankfurters entwined in an embrace, the elegant ladies’ handbag supported on exceedingly slender legs, and the famous fat houses. The latter include the house of Karl Marx, rendered obese by being transformed into a seat and squashed by the weight of the hypothetical observer, accentuating the irony through the gesture of placing one’s derriere on the house of the famous thinker . . . a blustering irreverence triggered by the taste for debunking.Huge marble sausages stand alone or squash cars that oscillate between running to fat and a tendency to liquefy.All sculpture is hence a synonym of transformation.

In the Via Benedetta premises of the gallery the central area is occupied by the Fat Convertible in splendid iconic isolation. This convertible has been made specially for the Florence show following Wurm’s famous metamorphosis: making it oversize at a length of 4.3 metres, then blowing it up using polyurethane and decking it out with mirror-finish cast aluminium bodywork and acid green interiors. This work is the synthesis of Erwin Wurm’s poetics, unequivocally hallmarking hisproduction on the global art scene.

The exhibition has a museum-style layout in which the sculptures in various materials – marble, aluminium, bronze, Murano glass and cement – are alternated with paintings bearing the iconic words of the show, they too blown up so that they are only just legible on the surface. Particularly striking are the paintings with the words ‘salsiccia’, ‘gelato’, and ‘salame’ written in Italian, the first ever made using these terms, produced especially for the show.

A catalogue of the exhibition will be produced including an essay by Helmut Friedel.

Erwin Wurm Erwin Wurm (born in 1954) is an Austrian artist. He lives and works in Vienna andLimberg in Austria and in New York City. Wurmis well known for his witty approach to formalism. Among his most recent shows we can mention: One Minute Forever, Museum of Contemporary Art, Belgrade, Serbia (2022); Dissolution, MAK (Museum fürAngewandte Kunst), Geymüllerschlössel, Vienna, Austria (2021); One Minute in Taipei, Taipei fine Arts Museum, Taipei City, Taiwan (2019); [mac] Muséed’ArtContemporain, Marseille, France 019); Peace & Plenty, Kunstmuseum Luzern, Switzerland (2018); Peace & Plenty, Albertina, Vienna, Austria (2018); Hot Dog Bus,Public Art Fund, New York, USA (2018); Carl Spitzweg – Erwin Wurm. Köstlich! Köstlich?, Leopold Museum, Vienna, Austria (2018); ussballgrosserTonklumpen auf hellblauemAutodach, Kunsthaus Graz, Graz, Austria (2017). In 2017 he was chosen to represent Austria at the 57th Venice Biennale.

His works are present in the most important private and public collections, including: MoMA, The Museum of Modern Art, New York;Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Judith Rothschild Foundation, New York; Tate Modern, London;Centre Pompidou, Musée National d’ArtModerne, Paris;Muséed’ArtContemporain de Lyon, Lyon;Albertina, Vienna;MUMOK, Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig Wien, Vienna;Österreichische Galerie Belvedere, Vienna;Berlinische Galerie, Berlin;Kunsthalle Bremen, Bremen; Sammlung Deutsche Bank, Berlin;Centro per l’ArteContemporanea Luigi Pecci, Prato;MAMbo, Museo d’ArteModerna di Bologna, Bologna;Museion, Museo d’ArteModerne e Contemporanea Bolzano, Bolzano; Nomas Foundation, Romek;Fundación ARCO, Centro de Arte Dos de Mayo, Madrid;Kunsthaus Zürich, Zürich.

Title: Erwin Wurm. Trans Formam

Opening: September 24, 2022

Ending: March 18, 2023

Organization: Galleria Poggiali

Curator: Helmut Friedel

Place: Firenze, Galleria Poggiali

Address: Via della Scala, 35/Ar - 50123 Firenze

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