Offsite: Erwin Wurm presents recent works from this Vienna-based artist that demonstrate his focus on the body and his wry sense of humour. Featured at Offsite are three works that alter and re-envision recognizable forms in order to challenge our psychological perceptions of what is well known, including our own bodies and familiar architectural forms.
Inspired by Henry David Thoreau’s essay “Civil Disobedience,” Wurm’s Big Disobedience (2016) makes reference to the theme of political and social correctness. Half Big Suit (2016) consists of a figure fixed in an awkward position, one leg extended in the air, conveying the sense of distress experienced while undergoing a durational performance or holding a lengthy pose. The relationship between the organic transformation of the body through biological factors and the intentional moulding of objects in Wurm’s work is illustrated in his architectural structure, Flat Iron (2016). While Wurm considers humour an important tool in his work, there is always an underlying social critique of contemporary culture, particularly in response to capitalist influences and resulting societal pressures, which the artist sees as contrary to our internal ideals.
Throughout the duration of the exhibition, Vancouver-based artist Mike Bourscheid will present Ledgers (2019), a performance in response to Wurm’s sculptural installation. Ledgers is a vocal music composition based on the madrigals of Renaissance and early Baroque eras that were comprised of a secular, altruist narrative. Performed by a three-person choir dressed in traditional workwear, the singers survey the financial and urban surroundings of Offsite with their voices and bodies. Commissioned by the Vancouver Art Gallery, Ledgers is choreographed by Mike Bourscheid and composed by Robyn Jacob. Lyrics are written by Vanessa Brown and Mike Bourscheid and performed by Emily Cheung, Hilary Ison and Emily Millard.
Offsite: Erwin Wurm is the 19th installation in the Gallery’s ongoing Offsite series. Offsite is located at 1100 West Georgia Street between Thurlow and Bute Streets, west of the Shangri-La Hotel.
Organized by the Vancouver Art Gallery