Erwin Wurm: Dreamwalkers

Duration: June 19–August 25, 2023

Opening: June 18, 2024

Venue: Shanghai Fosun Foundation

Fosun Foundation is set to unveil the Erin Wurm solo exhibition “Dreamwalkers,” presenting the artist’s acclaimed “One Minute Sculptures” series, first begun in the 1990s, alongside creations using clothing, food, and other readily available everyday objects touching on the conceptual boundaries of sculpture. “Dreamwalkers” not only refers to those neurotic bodies or emptied shells of clothing in Wurm's creations, but also stands as a humorous implied “invitation” sent out to the viewer—an invitation to become the subject of the sculpture, to step into Wurm's absurd scenarios to break conventions and utilitarian canons and processes in order to release the individual from its frozen state between the isolation and fervor of social tension.

Erwin Wurm, Cap OMS, 2023

mixed media

51 x 123.5 x 73 cm

©Erwin Wurm and Lehmann Maupin.


Erwin Wurm, born in 1954 in Bruck an der Mur, is one of Austria's leading artists. Throughout his three-decade practice, he has constantly challenged the definitions of sculpture, the limits of the human form, and our relationship with our living space. “Everything is sculpture,” says Wurm. Wurm began creating his iconic “One Minute Sculptures” (OMS) series in the 1990s. The series continues to this day. In this series, Wurm issues written or drawn instructions for the participant to strike a certain pose with a range of common objects such as fruit, a water bucket, or a piece of furniture, and to hold that pose for sixty seconds. These temporary, spontaneous, ephemeral body sculptures, with their “burn after reading” feel, subvert the timelessness of traditional sculpture. In the short stretch of “one minute,” the participant’s body engages in a silly, even awkward encounter with Wurm's provided props, alluding to the individual's ceaseless efforts to correct and adapt their relationship with an impenetrable world, which, under Wurm's neurotic orders, appear arbitrary and lacking discipline—these moments of absurdity are the source of the work's charm. In the span of 60 seconds, the viewer becomes a work of art that is viewed, and the strict discursive system of the museum is punctured and dissolved.

Erwin Wurm, Gate (Skins), 2021

aluminum, paint

150cm x 58.5 cm x 34cm

©Erwin Wurm and Lehmann Maupin.

Erwin Wurm, Dream, 2023

aluminum cast

39.37 x 19.29 x 27.56 cm

©Erwin Wurm and Lehmann Maupin.

At a time when most human-made things, including art, have been striving for a monumental perpetuity, the “One Minute Sculptures” embody Wurm's resistance against “manufactured reason” and emphasize that sculpture is not just heavy, steady, and static. But in fact, the public's photos of these “One Minute Sculptures” have already spread like a virus across social media networks. Bizarre interactions are the key to the post-Internet era and its basic language. These infinitely copied and dispersed virtual images are more eternal than any substantive existence. This exhibition will present a trove of Polaroid photographs Wurm shot for the “One Minute Sculptures” series, a spontaneous archive of folly. The use of Polaroids, with their vintage feel, for documentation, reveals another approach to transforming the fleeting into the eternal.

Erwin Wurm, Rodin's Coat, 2023

bronze, patina

230 x 90 x 125 cm

©Erwin Wurm and Lehmann Maupin.

Erwin Wurm sees clothing as a second skin that serves as the point of contact between the boundaries of the body and the outside world. His 2023 sculpture Rodin’s Coat stems from his “Psycho” series. The artwork references sculpture Auguste Rodin's study of Balzac in a robe, and appears as a phantom consisting only of a shell and a coat. Wurm asks, in a reality determined by the external, and a society obsessed with superficial appearance, has the internal been swallowed whole by the dominance of the external? In comparison, the giant sweater Lent Cloth, measuring eleven meters long and nearly seven meters wide, immediately softens any serious skepticism, and with an air of the ordinary, strips away the sanctity of the here and now. Muli brand is the exclusive partner for this exhibition, providing strong support for the exhibition under their maxim of “just for the good relationship,” and providing new room for interpretation of Wurm's inversions of internal, external, and reality.

Erwin Wurm, Lent Cloth, 2020

metal, wool

1100 x 750 x 5 cm

©Erwin Wurm and Lehmann Maupin.

The public space in front of the Fosun Foundation entrance will present a collaboration between Erwin Wurm and century-old fashion house Lanvin, the large-scale sculpture Desire, commissioned for this exhibition. Lanvin's trademark blue and Wurm's penchant for creamy colors are a perfect fit. The body with a handbag for a head and the long legs come together to form a sleepwalker lost in the city, a dreamer out of step with the world. Fosun Foundation has long promoted public art, and Desire is once again placed in the square at the entrance welcoming visitors to the exhibition, in hopes of fostering ever more encounters between the public and art.

Erwin Wurm, Desire, 2024

©Erwin Wurm and Lehmann Maupin. Photo: Eva Würdinger

By exploring ordinary, everyday decisions and existential questions, Wurm’s creations remind us to pay attention to and engage with everyday life, and to consider how the basic elements and objects of life around us have come to define us. The calm always comes after the storm. Wurm's absurd scenes are simply the creation of another meta reality to use the absurdity of existence against itself. Through this route, the artist has cleverly captured the sore spots of the era, and shown us that beyond solemn deep thought, artists can also create a state of surprise.

Shanghai Fosun Foundation

Located in the Bund Finance Center, Fosun Foundation Shanghai is a non-profit organization founded by the Fosun Group and the Fosun Foundation. The center is designed by British design firm Foster + Partners and creative director Heatherwick Studio. The building features three layers of moving veils as a facade.

Fosun Foundation's core mission is to promote contemporary art, connect China with international cultural systems, and foster public engagement with, understanding of, and participation in global contemporary art. Its roof houses the large-scale spatial installation Counter Sky Garden by renowned Japanese artist Tatsuo Miyajima, with the participation of three hundred Shanghai residents. The artwork is a part of the Foundation’s permanent collection. Fosun Foundation also continues to focus on and support local Chinese artists, providing a broader platform for the exhibition of outstanding works of Chinese contemporary art.

2024.06.19 - 2024.08.25
Fosun Foundation (Shanghai)