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The open-air art experience at the Kurgarten
20 July - 01 September 2024

art meets city

The Austrian sculptor and installation artist Erwin Wurm is one of the most successful and popular artists of our time.

This summer, the artist is presenting four of his cheerfully ironic works in the Kurgarten in front of the Kurhaus.

✓ Great experience ✓ Free admission ✓ Open Air

Erwin Wurm's artwork

➤ Erwin Wurm worked with clothes since the 80s and throughout his carrier, as elements for representing the human being and questioning the sculpture concept.
"When dealing with sculpture, I think of Roman or Greek sculptures of heroes and horses and so on, with massive bodies – massive sculptures – but actually they are defined by just a very thin layer of bronze skin."
Big Suit is a three-meter painted aluminium worn suit in which the body is missing. What is left is an empty shell: the body is no more shown and what is offered to the viewer is its absence inside the clothes. Even though the size of Big Suit, the subject is reduced to its minimum, the massive bodies of the ancient heroes are now substitute by the empty clothes, iconic symbols of our present society and culture. Erwin Wurm twists the traditional representation of public monuments and leads to the fading of the human as individual.

ERWIN WURM, Big Suit (Ease) ©Jonty Wilde_Teaser

ERWIN WURM, Big Suit (Ease) © Jonty Wilde

➤  Erwin Wurm goes on in his exploration of the human body’s concept by presenting clothes in an anthropomorphic group of sculpture: two huge pink aluminium suits are frozen by the artist in the act of moving and twisting their bodies. The title refers to Henry David Thoreau's 1849 essay Civil Disobedience where the author suggests a defence and a rising of each one consciousness to refuse the common sense of justice imposed by the ruling politic power. The two figures embody the will of imagining something out of the common sense, something able to emphasise each one’s imagination. Playing on the border of the visible and invisible, of the outside and the inside, Wurm changes the perception of reality, leading the observer to a bigger.

ERWIN WURM, Big Disobedience, Foto ©Jonty Wilde

ERWIN WURM, Big Disobedience, Foto © Jonty Wilde

➤ "I work a lot with realism, and I wanted to create a figure, a realistic figure, without human anatomy, so what do you choose? I wanted to select biological material, and sausage is a biological material – it’s made from animal intestine stuffed with mashed meat, which reminds you again of certain things… Then I thought, maybe it’s much more interesting to call it an Abstract Sculpture, because people start to doubt what they look at. I wanted to play with this."

The three-meter bronze anthropomorphic sausages sculpture is raising its arms towards the sky. Its legs are tensed and ready to jump in an act of celebration, like silly human figure that could be a cartoon character. Wurm plays with the contrast between the triviality of the sausage, iconic object of the Austrian culture, and the tradition of bronze public sculpture, leading to a powerful reflection on masculinity and political power dynamics.

ERWIN WURM, Giant, Me Ideal, Foto ©Ulrich Ghezzi_Teaser

ERWIN WURM, Giant, Me Ideal, Foto © Ulrich Ghezzi

➤ The German Couch, part of the series of Performative Sculptures, was primarily made as a clay model of the Mercedes-Benz 123 on which Erwin Wurm performed physical gestures. He sat and walked on it until the mass took his weight imprint before it was casted in aluminium. These actions led the shape of the car to be crushed and almost melted, suggesting the form of a couch, in reference to the psychoanalysis’s tool. Cars are to be intended, in Wurm’s practice, as an archetypical image: an extension of the human body and a key symbol for sexuality and power.

The German Couch becomes the knot of a tension between the representation, the act of performing, the materiality of the sculpture itself and its interaction with the viewer. In resonance with the iconic One Minute Sculptures series, the public is invited to sit on the artwork and become a part of it.

ERWIN WURM, The German Couch, Foto ©Jonty Wilde_Teaser

ERWIN WURM, The German Couch, Foto © Jonty Wilde

Did you know?!

Frequently asked questions about art meets city

At art meets city you can discover what art can be in an open air setting. Experience the Kurgarten in a completely different way. Exchange ideas!
Art brings people together; to think and to experience.

In addition to the renowned addresses on Lichtentaler Allee, such as the Museum Frieder Burda and the Staatliche Kunsthalle, Studio 45 cbm and Museum LA8, a new place for art has been announced: the Kurgarten, directly in front of the Kurhaus. In future, art in public space will find a stage here. An invitation to the citizens and guests of the city to experience this well-known and popular place in a new way. Free of charge.

Each year, an artist will have the opportunity to present a work of art open-air under the motto "kunst findet stadt" (art meets city). An advisory board of renowned art experts will make the selection. The event is organised by Baden-Baden Events GmbH.

For "art meets city",  Kurgarten  in front of the Kurhaus, the green oasis in the heart of Baden-Baden, is transformed into an open-air art gallery.

The Kurgarten is the city's international meeting place for a variety of events: Baden-Baden Summer Nights, Oldtimer Meeting, Kurpark Meeting, SWR3 New Pop Festival and the Baden-Baden Christmas Market take place here.

No, kunst findet stadt and the program is free of charge.

Here are a few tips for a relaxed journey.

Travel by public transport

Get from A to B easily, comfortably and environmentally consciously: The Baden-Baden public transport company ensures this every day and also at night with a dense network of routes and frequencies. The operating branch of Stadtwerke Baden-Baden provides a total of 47 buses for this purpose - and as one of the first public transport companies in Baden-Württemberg, it also provides two hybrid buses. 

By car to Baden-Baden

For a comfortable journey by car, it is best to use our P&R car parks at the Cineplex cinema or the P&R car park Bahnhof Süd. You will find further parking facilities in our parking garages.

One of the most successful and fascinating artists of our time, Erwin Wurm was born in 1954 in Bruck an der Mur, Austria. His works are a mixture of sculpture, performance and installation, and are characterised by a humorous and often absurd approach.

Wurm is best known for his One Minute Sculptures, in which he arranges everyday objects and people into bizarre, short-lived sculptures. These performances invite the viewer to participate and blur the boundaries between art and everyday life. It is not only about the end product, but also about the process and the interaction.

His work is characterised by a playful examination of social norms and conventions. He questions the definition of art and the value of objects by deforming, inflating or shrinking them. Often humorous, but also profound, his works invite us to reflect on the absurdities of modern life.

Erwin Wurm has exhibited in major museums and galleries around the world, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Venice Biennale. His work is represented in the world's most important collections, including the Tate Modern in London and the Centre Pompidou in Paris. Through numerous exhibitions and his presence in internationally renowned institutions, Wurm has had an impact far beyond the art scene. His work continues to inspire artists and viewers around the world. He lives and works in Vienna and Limberg.

Further information about the artist

The managing director of Baden-Baden Events GmbH Nora Waggershauser has an artistic advisory board for the selection of artists at her side: Florian Matzner, professor at the Munich Academy and freelance curator and Johann von Haehling, curator and artistic advisor. 

More about the advisory board of "art meets city".

In 2021, art meets city celebrated its debut with artworks by the world-renowned artist Jeppe Hein and in 2022 the italien artist Marinella Senatore. In summer 2023, Nevin Aladağ transformed the Kurgarten in front of the Kurhaus.
Click here for the review.