erwin wurm parks his fat car, narrow house, and big coat across the french city of le havre

erwin wurm parks his fat car, narrow house, and big coat across the french city of le havre

the northern french city of le havre has come alive this summer around a creative program that sees major international artists challenge the architecture of the urban area, and transform it into an artistic playground. as part of a summer in le havre 2019, austrian artist erwin wurm brings four of his distorted, swollen, contorted, and exaggerated artworks to the city. on different sites around the city — hôtel dubocage de bléville, avenue foch, and halles centrales — wurm has installed his ‘fat car’, ‘narrow house’, ‘big coat’, and ‘kiss’ sculptures, reflecting on the conditions of society, overconsumption, and architecture as sculpture.

erwin wurm le havre



in the grounds of the hotel dubocage bléville — a former private mansion in the historic heart of le havre that has been transformed into a museum — wurm has parked his ‘fat car’. occupying the courtyard of the building, the oversized vehicle has all the finery of a real car — with its mirrored metallic exterior and convertible top down — but is largely exaggerated in shape and form. the theme of overconsumption is largely communicated by the car’s bulging silhouette and inflated rolls, where the extreme addition of volume to an otherwise ordinary object becomes a societal critique.

erwin wurm le havre



along avenue foch — the ‘champs elysées’ of le havre that leads to the beach — pedestrians and passersby find wurm’s ‘narrow house’. the sculpture represents a scale model of his childhood home, but has been shrunk to a startlingly thin width of a mere 1 meter. making a mockery of usual proportions, wurm condenses the entire construction, interior decoration, and even the everyday objects within. through ‘narrow house’, the artist considers his generation’s experience of living in a constrained and standardized environment.



in the halls of the shopping market at halles centrales appear ‘kiss’ and ‘big coat’ — two life-sized sculptures that subvert the ordinary and every day. a pair of hot dogs embrace for ‘kiss’, evoking anthropomorphic physical qualities and movement, with an anatomy of long ‘limbs’ and ‘bodies’ that visually mimic the recognizable encased meat shape. the odd character that dons ‘big coat’ similarly challenges our accepted impressions of the world around us and perceptions of everyday reality.



see more about wurm’s artistic contributions, and discovery tours taking place as part of a summer in le havre on the program’s website, here.



project info: 


program: a summer in le havre
location (fat car): hôtel dubocage de bléville — 1 rue jérôme bellarmato, le havre, france
location (narrow house): avenue foch, le havre, france
location (big coat and kiss): halles centrales, le havre, france
duration: june 29 – september 22, 2019

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