austrian artist erwin wurm’s latest body of work on show at galerie thaddaeus ropac in pantin, france celebrates playful destruction in an exhibition titled ’wittgensteinian grammar of physical education’. within the exhibition space are smatterings of clay models denoting existing buildings of european and american architecture - all malformed from the artist having punched, crushed and kicked the works with his own body weight.
these traces of destruction are frozen through castings in bronze, acrylic or even polyester, and embellished with silver or gold-plating. some of the buildings are well known, others anonymous and some chosen for personal reasons, the arhcitecture spans prisons, warehouses, psychiatric clinics, bunkers, and even a house that once belonged to his ex-wife. the narrenturm (madhouse tower) in vienna is marked by footprints, san quentin state prison has been slashed open, and alcatraz dons a gaping hole - dug out by hand. the malformations give the pieces the signature amorphous character so iconic of wurm’s work.