Lot 15
  • 15

Erwin Wurm

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  • Erwin Wurm
  • Der Gurk
  • bronze
  • 415 by 110 by 110cm.
  • 163 1/4 by 43 by 43in.

Catalogue Note

Erwin Wurm has established himself as a purveyor of ironic social commentary, creating sculptures that are a contemporary amalgam of absurdist humour and acerbic parody of western consumerist culture. Wurm typically takes a banal everyday object as the subject of his work and radicalises it through some form of visual distortion. 

The present work takes as its subject die gurke (a cucumber) which in this case has been enlarged to more than four metres high and immortalised in bronze in a nod to the endemic modern obsession with continually demanding 'bigger and better'. The offbeat humour in enlarging a common and slightly suggestive vegetable is the specific vehicle Wurm chooses to deliver his more serious message: 'I will often use humour to seduce people [...] to get them to move closer, but it's never very nice when they look closer'.

Another essential point of reference for the present work is the human body and with it the notion of self-image and examination. In 2008, the museum Der Moderne in Salzburg installed Wurm's Self Portrait as Pickles, comprising 37 pickles and cucumbers, all slightly different in their casting and patination. Wurm explains: 'The fascination of the diversity of forms, which by virtue of their uniqueness are inexhaustible, is compelling. Although individually different, each cucumber is still immediately identifiable as a cucumber and generically classifiable as such', and as such they are, 'analogous to man'.