Play thing: Erwin Wurm’s One Minute Sculptures incite humour in LA

Play thing: Erwin Wurm’s One Minute Sculptures incite humour in LA

What’s it like to looked at as a work of art? For the first time, Los Angelenos can find out.

Erwin Wurm’s widely exhibited One Minute Sculptures, developed in 1980s by the Austrian artist, proffer museum-goers instructions (either in the form of a written description or suggestive drawing) to enact with props he has placed in the space, in order to become a piece of art for 60 seconds. The documented results are invariably surreal, comedic, a test of the boldness – and often, of the balance – of the viewer.

At MAK Center for Art and Architecture’s Schindler House until March 27, Wurm’s work instigates a new set of sculptures with Californian crowds: The objects they might activate include sneakers, buckets, fluffy toys and sticks of wood.

It is all poised for hilarity and for a new kind of experience in the museum space, where the usual dynamic between viewer and artwork is passive, delineated by a ’Don’t Touch’ sign. Wurm has always stressed, however, that humorous work doesn’t mean that the intent that underpins it is not serious: The quick sculptures are as much a reflection on the way we interact with the art world as how we do so in our surroundings in general. They can convey how willing people in different environments are to engage with what’s around them, and to be laughed at – or to participate in the laughter. While most might balk at the words ’interactive art’, Wurm’s pieces literally reimagine the banal.

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