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.
The exhibition is accompanied by the catalog ERWIN WURM: Dissolution, edited by Christoph Thun-Hohenstein, Rainald Franz, and Bärbel Vischer. With contributions by Christoph Thun-Hohenstein, Rainald Franz, and Bärbel Vischer as well as an interview with the artist. German/English, 64 pages with numerous color illustrations. MAK, Vienna/arnoldsche Art Publishers, Stuttgart 2021. Available at the MAK Design Shop and online at MAKdesignshop.at for € 29.