Mere seconds after entering Lehmann Maupin gallery for Erwin Wurm’s latest sculpture exhibit, Synthesa, we were already smiling from ear to ear. We first became acquainted with Wurm’s delightful sense of humor when his sculpture Big Kastenmann had its residency at the Standard Hotel in October of 2012, so it was lots of fun to experience an entire gallery full of works that express the Austrian artist’s unique world view.
Synthesa is comprised of three new sculptural bodies of work. Those within the title series of the exhibition, Synthesa, continue Wurm’s investigations of volume and abstraction of the human form. For these works, the artist works with the classical figure in the manner of a traditional sculptor yet drastically deconstructs and contorts each shape, inserting unexpected ready-made objects to further the abstraction.
For Wurm, these works explore psychological conditions, manifested in the physiology of the human form. Here, Synthesa represents the synthesis of opposing forces, both physical and emotional, traditional and unexpected.
Similarly, Wurm’s series of Abstract Sculptures challenge our accepted impressions of the world around us. For this series, the artist contorts sausage-like forms into bronze sculptures that evoke anthropomorphic physical qualities and movement. Pulling the reference from his daily life and childhood, Wurm re-envisions the classic frankfurter in unexpected contexts to challenge our perceptions of the objects in reality. True to Wurm’s practice, these works are both familiar yet strange and evoke pause and contemplation from the viewer.
The third series of sculptures is called One Minute Forever, inspired by his popular his One Minute Sculptures public performance art piece. Wurm evolves those works from instructive and performance-based ephemeral sculptures into One Minute Forever’s physically enduring series, in which Wurm re-imagines the original One Minute Sculptures using skeletal forms to convey the eternity of each pose.
Through these works Wurm embraces the persistent yet fleeting nature of time and examines this force as a unifying factor of human existence.
Synthesa by Erwin Wurm will be on Exhibit Through April 19th, 2014 at Lehmann Maupin, Located at 540 West 26th Street in the Chelsea Gallery District. Gallery Hours are Tuesday to Saturday, 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM and Mondays by appointment.