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WHAT PLINTHS? Erwin Wurm @ Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac & Sarah Lucas supporting Franz West @ Tate Modern

Doppel Kuss & Peace Restrained, Verso, Erwin Wurm, 2018

Erwin Wurm, New Work

Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, more specifically Ely House, London. 19 February – 23 March 2019. Art works by Erwin Wurm


Franz West TATE modern, 20 February - 2 June, 2019 More specifically, the curious plinths made by Sarah Lucas, a former friend and collaborator of the late West.

A joint write up thingy, based on my experiences at TWO exhibitions in close succession: Erwin Wurm @ Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac and Franz West at Tate Modern. This only being made possible by tunnel vision when viewing works (and when cherry picking exhibitions to visit) - I have been considering my recent rejection of the plinth that I stated last term, I made a promise to myself to never rely on or introduce a plinth to my works... Due to them holding far too much meaning and very specific, historical connotations, a world that I am not part of. As well as the fact that they look quite like seaside town art shop displays, or the ones you get in Clarks shoes. ANYWAY! What's my point here? What did I take away from this experience? Well, I of course enjoyed seeing Wurm's pieces displayed on repurposed and crudely painted furniture. The display has been heavily considered and becomes integral to the sculpture(s) on top, the sort-of-but-sort-of-not plinth is part of the work, various components speaking as one. Great stuff. Getting a metaphysical reach around from one of my favourite artists feels good, further confirming some of my stubborn pet hates in relation to curation/art making.

Ear Pointer, Erwin Wurm, 2018

Of course, Wurm probably has some other reasons up his sleeves for making these decisions, I suspect making a dig at European design culture, being from Austria. As well as being from a different generation which was at one time almost entirely held up by a flat pack, veneer coated craze, this is a hard fact, because I remember seeing it when going round to my dads flat.

But to me, this quirky furniture design joke, made to be told to upper class audiences (generally speaking) is skewed. Instead, I am reminded of my childhood home, the heavily outdated, worn furniture I was surrounded by, no doubt sourced from benefit friendly, second hand shops. When I stare at them for a weirdly long time I start to think about council houses, about growing class division and austerity, food banks and the rise of poverty in general, despite what the news has been saying. Slightly awkward, humbling but mostly scary when stood in the heart of Mayfair.