Gestural ceramic sculptures are the focus of the MAK exhibition, presenting Erwin Wurm’s sculptural series Dissolution (2018–2020) in a museum context for the first time. Performative gestures determine these anthropomorphic sculptures, whose forms oscillate between the ephemeral and the physical. The sculptures affirm the inherent plasticity of clay as material, recalling the potency of bozzetti, preliminary sketch-like models in which artists from the Renaissance onwards gave direct expression to their innermost creative ideas. With Dissolution, Wurm sets out in search of a creative process that cannot be completely controlled. The word “dissolution” has connotations of disintegration, decay, decomposition, and vanishing boundaries. The sculptures—with their protruding fingers, hands, lips, mouths, breasts, bellies, navels, noses, and ears—force their way out of a mass of clay.
Erwin Wurm’s ceramic sculptures, reminiscent of abstract characters, mirror deconstructions, deformations, distortions, contortions, as well as dissolution and decline—though all the time the artist is playing with paradox. In these sculptural forms Wurm combines realism with abstraction. The multifaceted gestures of an imaginary role play are familiar to us; at the same time, the abstract, sculptural forms assume figurative, human traits.
The sculptural body segments invade the Geymüllerschlössel’s interior, creating tableaux vivants—dramaturgical arrangements located between movement and stasis, history and the present—in individual rooms and salons: the entrance hall, the library, the music room, the cupola room, the bedroom, the oriental room, and before a wallpaper panorama reflecting the weltanschauung of European colonialism.
In the garden of the Schlössel, Erwin Wurm’s sculptures of Carrara marble connect up with the artist’s role in critically illuminating and distorting our world.
Curator: Bärbel Vischer
Kindly supported by
Thanks to Thaddaeus Ropac
London, Paris, Salzburg