Erwin Wurm. Fichte
“An art work is a summons.”
Erwin Wurm might have been thinking about this statement by the philosopher Markus Gabriel when he set out to raise a monument to the philosopher Johann Gottlieb Fichte in the Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg. No one who knows Wurm’s work will be surprised that this is not achieved with spruce trees [Ger. “Fichte”], which would have been (too) obvious, but with Nordmann firs, which he upends into a concentrated arboreal sculpture.
When Erwin Wurm goes into action, it never produces anything conventional. And the same applies to this artist’s book, which was developed for the exhibition in Wolfsburg: if you want to know what is hidden inside, you have to give it the finishing touches and cut the pages with a knife. Wurm’s instructions on page one and the necessity of participation take the book in the direction of the legendary One Minute Sculptures and ensure that despite its industrial production, nothing but single copies come about. These are distributed by their purchasers throughout the world, and because of their reference to the exhibition, they continually extend it by one more work. Once you have gained access, you plunge into the “Wurm cosmos” in a more than 80-page sequence of photographs, drawings, and collages, and can reconstruct how the artist developed his exhibition and how the things connect (for him).
The extent to which the Fichte project has a political dimension, and what this all has to do with civil disobedience, with Fichte and last but not least with New Realism, is explained by Björn Egging, from the Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg, and above all by the above-mentioned philosopher Markus Gabriel in their essays. Designed for Double Standards, Berlin.
Artist book & exhibition catalog
Ralf Beil (Ed.)
aga press, 2015