Erwin Wurm: Balzac

This 3.2m high painted aluminium work was created during preparations for Erwin Wurm’s Trap of the Truthexhibition, which was on display at YSP in summer 2023–2024.

The title Balzac was given to the work on its completion, in recognition of Rodin’s seminal sculpture, Monument to Balzac (1898), in which the poet is shown swathed in his robe so that clothing and figure meld together. In Wurm’s enigmatic sculpture, a figure is consumed by contemporary clothing and handbags, or perhaps is the consumer of luxury goods.

Balzac was generously gifted to YSP by Erwin Wurm in 2024, joining the permanent collection.

Balzac makes a significant contribution to our collection of modern and contemporary sculpture and beautifully extends our history of art narrative in a work that is both figurative and abstract. Balzac stands as a legacy of a dynamic, engaging and highly memorable exhibition, and we are happy that future visitors to YSP will be able to experience this work in the 18th century landscape. I’m deeply grateful to Erwin for the generosity he has shown Yorkshire Sculpture Park over the course of the development and presentation of a quite wonderful exhibition and in gifting this important work to us.

- Clare Lilley, YSP Director