Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival
Erwin Wurm, Philosophy - Digestion, Vegetabiles a priori, 2004
Erwin Wurm, Philosophy - Digestion, Vegetabiles a priori, 2004
2007 Public Installation

Erwin Wurm
OUTDOOR SCULPTURES, 1998–2004

May 1–28, 2007
St. Patrick Subway Station Platform
Dundas St. W. & University Ave.

During CONTACT, St. Patrick subway station
becomes a place
where the everyday meets the fantastical world of
constructed
images. The works of Erwin Wurm and Philippe
Ramette, installed
on opposite sides of the subway platform, invite us
to reconsider
the ways we interact with objects, the world and
each other.
The works share strong affinities: both artists
began as sculptors
and use sculpture as a starting point for creating
their
surprising and humourous performance events for
the camera.

For these works, begun in the late 1980s, Wurm
solicits volunteers
to enact short performances on the street, often
with
everyday objects. These are by turns poignant,
hilarious and
awkward. Two young girls trap oranges in the
thin, tense and
twisting space between their bodies, drawing
attention to the
things that bind and separate us. A woman’s toes
are repurposed
as perfect holders for a bunch of small pickles.
Two
men in suits are held both together and apart by
briefcases,
their status as professionals both attractive and
repellent.

In this way, Wurm interrupts the everyday
movement of the
street – our comings and goings – and injects a
sense of humour,
a sense of the absurd and even a sense of the
poverty of our
usual interactions (bumping into each other, asking
for directions,
making furtive eye contact) in public spaces. The
human
bodies, pressed into such strange, tenuous
situations, become
sculpture, a clever reworking of conceptual and
performance
art of the 1960s and 1970s. The casual, snapshot-
quality of the
photographs lends the events an air of both the
spontaneous and
the banal, a sly swipe at the aesthetics of street
photography.

Attracted to the processes of “searching and
failing,” certain
themes crop up again and again in Wurm’s work:
humour mixed
with melancholy, public with private, aspiration
with actuality,
commercial with personal and ephemerality with
permanence.

Erwin Wurm was born in Austria in 1954. Though
his work has taken many
forms, the common thread is the question of what
constitutes sculpture.
His work has been widely exhibited throughout
Europe, North America
and Australia. Upcoming solo shows in 2007
include Deichtorhallen
Hamburg, Germany, CAPC Musée d’art
contemporain, Bordeaux, France, and
Kunstmuseum St. Gallen, Switzerland. Wurm lives
and works in Vienna and
New York.

This installation is proudly sponsored by Concord
Adex Developments
Corporation as part of their Private Developer
Public Art Program.

Installation co-presented with the Art Gallery of
Ontario.

Curated by Sophie Hackett and Bonnie Rubenstein

Scotiabank CONTACT
Photography Festival

80 Spadina Ave Suite 205
Toronto ON M5V 2J4
Gallery Hours
Tue-Fri 11am–5pm
The CONTACT Gallery
is wheelchair accessible.