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 into 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. Humor and play make it possible to raise a lot of questions, to convey a lot of things without being hurtful or doctrinaire.”

Erwin Wurm,  NARROW HOUSE, 2010, mixed media, 7 x 1,3 x 16 m
© Images Elise Mougin-Wurm



Erwin Wurm (b. 1954 in Bruck an der Mur, Austria) lives and works in Vienna. His oeuvre comprises sculptures, photography, video, performance, and painting. His works often involve everyday objects such as cars, houses, clothing, luxury bags, and food products, with which he ironically comments on consumerism and capitalist mass production. Wurm gained widespread popularity in the 1990s with his “One Minute Sculptures”. Museum pedestals are displayed and left devoid of any work, so that the audience can take the place of the sculpture for one minute, according to the artist’s whimsical instructions. With this ironic yet radical gesture, Wu...
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