Élise Mougin-Wurm: ‚Parenthood did a Copernic revolution in my priorities‘

Ich, wie immer late to the party, entdeckte Erwin Wurms Kunst erst vor wenigen Wochen. Es war die Knallpinke Puffer-Jacke mit dem neongrünen Strickkleid, eine One Minute Sculpture, wie ich inzwischen gelernt habe. Für mich absolute Traumfarben. Kurz darauf kam die Einladung zum Kinderbuchlaunch von Élise Mougin-Wurm. Das Thema des Buches? Ihr Ehemann: Erwin Wurm.

Ich habe es die Kinder lesen lassen, bevor ich irgendwas erklärte oder zeigte, und habe sofort gemerkt, wie kleine Schranken sich geöffnet haben. Sicherlich wachsen meine Kinder in einem künstlerischen Haushalt auf, doch das teils einschränkende Mindset des Dorfes geht auch an ihnen nicht spurlos vorbei. Sie lächelten, kicherten, über die Albernheit, fanden es gut, dass Erwin Wurm sich einigen Vorgaben widersetzt hat. Dass ‚auch das‘ Kunst ist, daran müssen Kinder auch ab und zu erinnert werden. Dass wir Dinge mit Humor betrachten können, über vieles lachen können und sollten.

Ich werde jeden feiern, der Staub als Kunst für viel Geld verkauft. Bravo! Getroffen haben wir aber natürlich Élise, die französische Grafikdesignerin, die ein wirklich famoses Kinderbuch rausgebracht hat.

Hey Élise, What do you do?
I am a French graphic designer who worked a long time for contemporary art. I now work exclusively with and for my artist husband Erwin Wurm. I organize some of his exhibitions, his archives and website. I also photograph his shoots together with him and still design exhibition catalogues here and there. You won’t finde me on social media, I am not active there.

What moves you right now?
The 100 projects that Erwin is generating! He is luckily successful and is given very nice opportunities for exhibitions and collaborations. It is a lot of fun to organize even though the amount can be mind blowing sometimes. He is my motor, generates the ideas and I invest them with my creativity. 

What moves you and your children?
Love! What else! I have one daughter who is almost 12. Laughing, dancing, sharing is our daily happiness.

Where are you coming from right now and where are you headed next?
I stopped my own design activity 7 years ago to work with Erwin. Long term projects are on my table. Some creative ones, and others more bureaucratic like for instance the creation of a catalogue raisonné. This could sound like a boring task but it is so essential for us. I to it like one could complete a puzzle. It rests my mind. Once this is achieved, I might work more often on my own creations. Draw more children books for instance, or do art again myself. Who knows!

I didn’t sacrifice these things for Erwin. I chose to work with him because it is also super interesting and brings me to work always on unexpecting topics. 

One thing at a time. If I am lucky to live long enough, I will have time for other chapters! 

Favorite place with your child?
Hydra. We have a house on this Greek Island. No cars, no bikes. Estée can go freely everywhere and can experiment safely her independence. Our moments together are not dictated by the school schedules or transport timing. Our relation becomes then so fluid and rich there. 

Favorite place without your child?
Anywhere when with the right friends! When humor and mood are good, any location can become the place to be. And my bed maybe… story of any working mum… Alone time accepting to do nothing is too rare! 

As a stylish parent I can’t live without… 
Without aesthetic in my environment. It is essential to me. 

Without art.

And without not always having to care about style. I couldn’t imagine a life when I would always have to look stylish myself. I like looking stylish of course. My ego still gets flattered when some outfit looks good and when I see sparks in my husband’s eyes! 

But sometimes, having to always wonder what to wear/buy to look good and appropriate is exhausting. When alone, forgetting about my own image can be liberating and frees energy and time to concentrate on something else than one self. This is one of the reasons why I love to work alone from home.

Has parenthood changed your style?
Parenthood did a Copernic revolution in my priorities. When pregnant, I couldn’t even imagine stopping my work for 3 months, which is the French maternity leave duration.  So the 3 years break allowed in Austria where a vertiginous perspective for me. A fulfilled day used to be a day when I had achieved a work project. 

Then Estée arrived, and doing 5 or 500 design projects didn’t appear so relevant anymore. I projected myself at an old age looking back at my life. A happy daughter is what would make the most proud, by far.  

Do you have a favorite style-season?
Summer! Much less is needed, so much less to organize. Less layers, more free movements. And more colours!

What are you wearing?
I have several style identities. One for Austrian conservative events gala diners, etc. . Erwin’s work makes us attend to quite a few of these. I blend myself in by playing the social game and adapt to the dress codes that are often quite formal dressed up in Austria. It is like preparing to go on stage in a theater play. Cocktail dresses, jewels, etc. 

When I just go out for daily duties: jeans, boots and Tshirt. I get quite lazy about it and admit I could easily wear the same every day.  

But most of the days I am working alone at home, in the most comfortable outfit possible, no make-up, and a vague shower bun on top my head. Covid lockdowns had the opposite effect on me than on most people. I was suddenly not home alone anymore and had to make more efforts than usual!

Alle Fotos: ©KaiSenf 

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