Uncomfortable furniture: Erwin Wurm at Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, Paris

Erwin Wurm's new exhibition
Erwin Wurm's new exhibition 'Lost' at Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac takes the habitual and eerily turns it on its head. Pictured: Triple Seat (Fauteuil White), 2015
(Image credit: Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac)

Erwin Wurm is perhaps the most playful of contemporary art’s major players (how could you not be if you sound like the hungry caterpillar’s best mate?). He has made obese cars, marshmallow houses and curvy (much more than usual) campervans.

In his new show at Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac’s Marais space, Wurm again makes the familiar unfamiliar, though the effect here is more unsettling than rib-tickling. 'Lost' is a study in materiality and domestic objects. Indeed, this is a sort of mid-century dream home gone nightmarish.

All of the objects – a sleek chaise longue, elegant sideboard or generous armchair – were originally modelled in clay, sometimes outsized, before Wurm walked on, stamped, squashed and otherwise deformed them. These deformations were then cast in bronze or polyester and painted the ‘wrong’ colour. The effect is triple layered dislocation.

A handsome fridge becomes a giant pat of butter, tagged Butter (Fridge). A sideboard in black patinated bronze, Horse, sags horribly and is fatally holed in its flanks. The show reminds us that an object can be wrong in a number of different ways, that our expectations of them are more complicated than we think. And when shape, colour and material refuse to play by the rules, we can feel very lost indeed.

Ordinary household objects

Ordinary household objects like sofas, light stands, fridges and even hand-soap dispensers are taken and misshaped in some way, as if moulded by very large hands

(Image credit: Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac)

Afterglow Lamp

Each piece was conventionally created in clay, before Wurm proceeded to deform and destroy them. Pictured: Afterglow (Lamp), 2015

(Image credit: Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac)

Horse Sideboard

The exhibition's title, 'Lost' seems very apt indeed – when our expectations of shape, colour and material are disrupted, it can be scary how quickly sensory disorientation ensues. Pictured: Horse (Sideboard), 2015

(Image credit: Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac)

The clean lines and highly-finished edges

The clean lines and highly-finished edges are juxtaposed by large, inconsistent holes, as seen here in the darkly comedic footprints of Snow (Chaise Longue), 2015

(Image credit: Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac)


Each piece has a witty, tactile title, adding to the jarring effect, as seen in Butter (Fridge), 2015 (pictured left), and Body (Body Lotion Dispenser), 2015 (right)

(Image credit: Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac)


’Erwin Wurm: Lost’ is on view until March 5. For more information, visit Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac’s website

Photography courtesy the artist and Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac


Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac
7 Rue Debelleyme
75003 Paris