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Artwork 2024

The German Couch

Erwin Wurm's ‘The German Couch’ transforms a Mercedes-Benz model into a crumpled, couch-like form through physical actions. This performative sculpture, cast from aluminium, links cars as symbols of power and sexuality with psychoanalysis.

More about the artwork

The German Couch from the series of performative sculptures was primarily created as a clay model of the Mercedes-Benz 123, on which Erwin Wurm performed physical actions. He sat on it and walked over it until the mass absorbed his weight before it was cast in aluminium. These actions resulted in the shape of the car appearing crumpled and almost melted, suggesting the shape of a couch, echoing the tool of psychoanalysis. Cars are seen as an archetypal image in Wurm's practice: an extension of the human body and a key symbol of sexuality and power.

The German Couch becomes the nexus of a tension between the representation, the performance itself, the materiality of the sculpture itself and its interaction with the viewer. In reference to the iconic series of One Minute Sculptures, the audience is invited to sit on the artwork and become part of it.