“One Idea Is Not Enough”: In Conversation With Erwin Wurm

“When I started out, I made drawings, 3D sculptures, and performative sculptures,” Wurm says of his varied oeuvre. “I didn’t want to restrict myself to one medium, so, depending on the mood, I focused on one aspect of my work more than the others. Sometimes the public was more interested in the ‘One Minute Sculptures’, other times more in the ‘Fat’ series, but it made no difference to my work. I was doing the same thing, continuing to move forward.” What determined the success of certain pieces at certain points in his career? And what drove these trends and his response to them? “Perhaps it’s strange to have worked in different mediums and on different ideas simultaneously, but I adapted to the flux, and somehow it worked out ok for me,” he says.

Wurm strives to deal with the major questions of our lives with levity. He seduces his audience with absurdity and irony, inviting them to join him on a journey. “When I was studying, I realized that the big questions of our lives were treated with ‘pathos’; everything became big and important,” he explains. “Standing in front of these big, heavy works, I felt small, as if I was shrinking,” he says.

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