Against the backdrop of a Western-style garden surrounded by fences, sit a big house and a big car, both looking disproportionately plump. Fat House and Fat Car focus on the association between technical and biological systems. Ordinarily, technology itself does not grow bigger or older like the human body. However, by endowing a house and car with the biological mechanism of growing fat, these pieces of art suggest the possibility of machines and buildings growing the way our body does.
What is the ideal body? It can be argued that our idea of the perfect body is a reflection of social convention. The same goes for symbols of power, wealth and high status in society. Fat House and Fat Car are intended to make us ponder what determines our ideas of perfection, and to imply that common social values that we never question, actually have very vague underpinnings.
Houses and cars are generally indispensable in our lives, and owning them also suggests a certain social status. Many of us would share the same idea of what constitutes a beautiful house or a cool car. Houses and cars reflect our society quite closely. But when they “betray” us by “growing fat,” what becomes of our notion of beauty? Fat House and Fat Car might at first glance look like humorous sculptures, but with them the artist is seeking to cast doubt on our notions of common sense.
Born 1954 in Bruck an der Mur, Austria. Studied at the University of Applied Arts and the Academy of Fine Arts, Vienna (Austria). Known for his humorous yet unsettling depictions of everyday life anduncanny approach to formalism, Wurm takes everyday objects such as nails, pens, and almost anything else, and creates mind-bending works that prompt viewers to question exactly what defines a sculpture. Solo exhibitions include “Fat Car and Jakob-Jakob Fat” at Palais de Tokyo (Paris, France, 2002), “Erwin Wurm” at Museo d’Arte Contemporanea Roma (Italy, 2006), and “Erwin Wurm,” at Musée Cantini (Marseille, France, 2019). He co-represented the Austrian Pavilion at the 57th Venice Biennale (Italy, 2017).