Erwin Wurm's model of the yacht 'Misconceivable' is a highly typical example of his alienation technique, which ironises and turns social conventions and rankings to the grotesque.
Formally, this seemingly soft-looking ship, whose bow bends downwards, almost tiredly, under the force of gravity, is a successor to Pop Art and especially to soft sculpture, as created above all by Claes Oldenburg.
Wurm's play with proportions and materiality is evident not only in his performative works, but also in his 'Fat Cars' or 'Fat Houses'. The 'Misconceivable', a particularly sarcastic name for a yacht whose utility is reduced to the point of absurdity by the softening of the material, also belongs in this group.
Erwin Wurm made this model the basis for a full-scale installation. He presented this proud yacht at various locations in typical, predictable surroundings, i.e. in harbours or along watercourses. The effect of the yacht stranded on a quay wall or lock wall, and then flaccid, melting away, undermined all habits of perception. Erwin Wurm describes his intentions as follows:
'First and foremost, I feel a deep connection to the absurd on an art historical level - I’m participating in a tradition. In a more contemporary sense, I think that reality nowadays is much more absurd than we could ever imagine. So everything that’s absurd in my work is really based in reality.
Then we have the concept of the paradox. It’s an interesting phenomenon - when we ask a question and attempt to answer it by looking at our world from a paradoxical point of view, we suddenly see things from a completely different angle. Identifying paradoxes lets us see the bigger issues.
The boat integrates these ideas. In the end, it’s really just a boat. It is and it’s not. It’s flexing and it’s hanging off of a ledge, but it’s a boat.