Erwin Wurm: Away at Home
Tel Aviv Museum of Art presents the first solo exhibition in Israel of works by the Austrian artist Erwin Wurm (b. 1954), one of the most prominent contemporary artists.
Starting in the 1990s, Wurm became known for expanding the notion of traditional sculpture and reinventing it in a series of One Minute Sculptures. He places everyday objects (such as clothing, furniture, and other household items) on pedestals throughout the gallery, and his fine drawings and simple instructions encourage the viewer to get on the pedestal and perform an action with the object – often funny, slightly awkward, and unconventional – for one minute. In this way he establishes a new relationship between viewer and object, questioning and reflecting on our connection to the objects around us. As we, the viewers, become the sculpture for a brief moment, a dimension of time and change is added to the seemingly stable and eternal medium of sculpture.
The exhibition in Tel Aviv includes new One Minute Sculptures, created from local pieces of furniture, as well as abstract environments – a wall, a cylinder – that allow viewers to hide and reveal parts of their bodies. In the garden adjacent to the gallery, Wurm presents a massive outdoor sculpture titled Narrow House – a replica of the artist’s childhood home that has been compressed into 1.1-meter width (!). Visitors are invited to enter the house, which has been superbly designed in all its details, and walk through it. The experience is claustrophobic and awe-inspiring. The playfulness and irony characteristic of Wurm's work give rise to a complex statement about the narrow-mindedness of the petite bourgeoisie in Austria in the post-WWII decades.
Only five people at a time may enter the Narrow House installation at Nata's Garden. The visit to the installation includes standing in line.
The Narrow House installation is fully accessible and obstacle-free for viewing from the outside, but the interior of the installation is not accessible.
The exhibition was made possible thanks to the generous support of The Friends of Tel Aviv Museum of Art in Israel, and The Young Friends of Tel Aviv Museum of Art in Israel. Additional support was provided by the Federal Ministry Republic of Austria – Arts, Culture, Civil Service and Sport, and by the Austrian Cultural Forum, Tel Aviv; Globus Worldwide Logistics; Hotel Montefiore