Erwin Wurm (b. 1954 Bruck an der Mur/Styria, Austria; lives and works in Vienna and Limberg, Austria) came to prominence with his One Minute Sculptures, a project that he began in 1996/1997.
In these works, Wurm gives written or drawn instructions to participants that indicate actions or poses to perform with everyday objects such as chairs, buckets, fruit, or knit sweaters.
These sculptures are by nature ephemeral, and by incorporating photography and performance into the process Wurm challenges the formal qualities of the medium as well as the boundaries between performance and daily life as spectator and participant.
While in this series he explores the idea of the human body as sculpture, in some of his more recent work he anthropomorphizes everyday objects in unsettling ways, like contorting sausage-like forms into bronze sculptures in Abstract Sculptures, or distorting and bloating the volume and shape of a car in Fat Car.
Wurm considers the physical act of gaining and losing weight a sculptural gesture, and often creates the illusion of bodily growth or shrinkage in his work. While Wurm considers absurd an important tool in his work, there is always an underlying social critique of contemporary culture, particularly in response to the capitalist influences and resulting societal pressures that the artist sees as contrary to our internal ideals. Wurm emphasizes this dichotomy by working within the liminal space between high and low and merging genres to explore what he views as a farcical and invented reality.