Erwin Wurm’s work anthropomorphizes everyday objects in often unsettling ways and explores the concept of the human body as sculpture. He uses humor and discomfort as tools to challenge our conventional experiences with art objects. “[For me] humor is primarily a method for getting people’s attention,” Wurm has stated. “It should ultimately prompt people to look at things more carefully.” In Big Disobedience, Wurm uses a large-scale suit, without a body, to stand in for the human form. The sculpture is a critique of contemporary society, its title a play on Henry David Thoreau’s 1849 essay “Civil Disobedience.” Big Disobedience was first presented at Art Basel Miami Beach in December 2016.
Born in Austria in 1954, Wurm graduated from the University of Graz in Austria in 1977 and the Gestaltungslehre University of Applied Art and Academy of Fine Art in Vienna in 1982. His work is in many international public and private collections, including Vienna’s Albertina, Musée National d’Art Moderne in Paris, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis. He was one of two artists chosen to represent Austria at the 2017 Venice Biennale.