A house “mistakenly” unearthed from the soil by an inebriated crane driver hangs mournfully over a construction site in Karlsruhe, southern Germany. Torn roots sprout from its base to remind onlookers that it was once a happy home before its violent extrication.
The hyper-real sculpture by Argentinian artist Leandro Erlich is suspended above a market square, where construction for a new tram network is in full swing. While it might appear to critique the built environment and associated human errors, the model house is intended to challenge resident’s perception of construction as an eyesore and something “divorced from the natural world.”
“Pulled up by the Roots highlights this tension,” Ehrlich told Dezeen. “As living beings on an ever-changing planet, we can never be apart from the organic world; the architecture that we create is part and parcel of our environment.” Inspired by the historical architecture of Friedrich Weinbrenner, Erlich’s reality-bending art addresses global themes of uprooting and migration, but it’s also there to remind people that “underneath the tons of metal and concrete of our cities, a vital organic presence remains.”
Therefore, the roots are a sign of life and not destructive intervention. Pulled up by the Roots is part of The City is a Star, a series of realistic sculptures installed across Karlsruhe to commemorate its anniversary. Another spectacle to behold is a comically bent truck by Austrian artist Erwin Wurm, whose rear wheels seem to be kicking off from the building behind it like a bucking bull.
The artwork truck was recently slapped with a parking ticket, according to CityLab, but a report from KA News insists that the gag ticket was issued by a rare breed of city officials possessing a sense of humor, after the Center for Arts and Media (ZKM) publicly complained about having to pay the charges. The sculptures will be on view until September 27, 2015. Another satirical outlook on human foul-ups is a topsy-turvy pile-up of VW Beetles by Hans Hollein, titled Car Building. Were they also victim to the drunken crane driver’s clumsy hand?