For a show of works on paper, Paper Trail surprises with its ample doses of yarn: one room in the back features poster-sized drawings by Austria-born artist Erwin Wurm alongside a pile of plus-sized sweaters. The drawings instruct visitors to crawl into the stretched-out, sack-like knitwear and hold a pose for a minute to become sculpture.
Walker crew member Noah Wilson found the sweaters at area thrift stores, writes the Minneapolis Star Tribune:
Curator Siri Engberg declared his purchases — orange, aqua, lime and a crimson-burgundy herringbone — perfect. After discussing how they were to be washed and hang-dried to stretch out, Engberg explained that the sweaters were an interactive element in a “drawing” by German artist Erwin Wurm. The Walker owns little ink sketches by Wurm that have been scanned, enlarged and posted next to a low pedestal on which the sweaters will be piled. The enlarged drawings show people in sluglike postures struggling into and out of sweaters, and the idea is to entice museum visitors to do goofy things with the garments — pull them onto their legs, crawl through an arm. Wurm’s participatory performance art might prove more engaging in locales where sweaters are more of a novelty — Hawaii, perhaps? — but there’s something refreshing about the endearingly off-beat enterprise.
This morning, Michèle Steinwald demonstrated the piece for me, wurming into one of the more Cosbyesque sweaters (top) before letting me capture the performance using my digital camera’s video function (she was a shoe-in for the job: as a 17-year-old in Canada, she’d modeled artist Jana Sterbak’s meat dress). Her performance inspired others, including Walker staffers Jeff Hnilicka, Sara Nichol, Brett Smith and Chad Kloepfer, along with a few guys hanging out in the gallery, to give Wurm’s instant sculpture a try.