Erwin Wurm – Spit in Someone’s Soup

A beautiful young woman leans over the soup bowl of her neighbour and spits into it. She is performing the instruction work Spit in someone’s Soup, Instructions on how to be politically Incorrect (2003) by the Austrian artist Erwin Wurm. The work is part of a series of instructions on how to be politically incorrect. Spit in Someone’s Soup is also the name of a travelling exhibition of Erwin Wurm’s work produced by Riksutställningar [Swedish Travelling Exhibitions] in collaboration with Marabou Park. This is the Swedish audience’s first opportunity to acquaint itself with the work of Erwin Wurm – one of todays most interesting sculptors.

Born in 1954 in Austria, Erwin Wurm lives and works in Vienna and is one of his country’s most successful contemporary artists. A conceptual sculptor, he considers all his works to be sculptures whether they are produced as photographs, videos, drawings or texts. The exhibition will show a unique selection of Erwin Wurm’s work from his early garment sculptures to his latest instruction pieces.

Throughout his career, Erwin Wurm has questioned the nature and potential of sculpture. The exhibition demonstrates how he deals with the classical sculptural problems of volume, proportion and movement. To these, he adds new questions such as: How long is something an object? and At what point does it turn into performance? In the exploration of the boundaries between these concepts, Wurm develops his own time and performance based sculpture. Best known is his own sculpture genre, the One Minute Sculptures, which redefines the concept of sculpture from a static object into a dynamic “action”.

Open Your Trousers – Put Flowers In Them And Don’t Think, or Hold Your Breath And Think Of Spinoza are examples of the slightly absurd instructions issued by Erwin Wurm as he invites us to realise one of his One Minute Sculptures. The audience is asked to use attributes such as flowers, balls or bottles to participate in the realisation of a “sculpture”. Erwin Wurm also exhibits photographic documentation of previously staged One Minute Sculptures, where the surroundings play an important part. Erwin Wurm illustrates complex relations by using bizarre humour; a prime example being his latest photographic series Don’t Trust Your Curator (2006) which deals with the power relations in the art world.