Erwin Wurm’s NARROW HOUSE, 2010, is installed on the Square Claude Érignac in Le Havre, France, and opened to the public on 24 June 2022. Wurm has already produced several models of this work, but this is the only permanent outdoor installation of NARROW HOUSE. The structure is a reinterpretation of Wurm’s childhood home, a typical suburban abode from the 1960s, surrounded by a wooded, landscaped garden in Le Havre that gives the impression of a residential neighbourhood.
Walking through the house can be a confusing experience: inside, the objects and furniture appear to have been compressed to their absolute limit. Moving through the structure, rooms open in front of viewers, but their extreme narrowness prevents visitors from entering them, engendering a feeling of claustrophobia until the exit is reached. The interior walls of NARROW HOUSE contain photographs that clue us in to its original inhabitants: the artist’s parents. This helps to reflect a certain post-war Austrian narrow-mindedness. 
NARROW HOUSE is typical of Wurm’s work, in which bodies, houses, or objects are deformed, swelling and contorting to emphasize elements of the uncanny. Like his FAT CAR, 2001, or the melting boat MISCONCIEVABLE, 2007, or his series of One Minute Sculptures, which transform visitors into sculpture, Wurm explains the impulse behind these intentional distortions. “In my opinion, the game has great strength, a real power of subversion. Humour and play make it possible to raise a lot of questions, to convey a lot of things without being hurtful or doctrinaire.”
Narrow House, 2010
Mixed media
7 x 1,3 x 16 m

© Images Elise Mougin-Wurm