Erwin Wurm’s “Narrow House”

A dialogue between two extremes. Presented at the Canale Grande in front of the Palazzo Cavalli Franchetti on the occasion of the 54th Biennale, Venice in 2011.

Site-specific indoor and outdoor installations curated by Peter Noever: Kendell Geers, Zaha Hadid, Magdalena Jetelová, Michael Kienzer, Koen Vanmechelen, Erwin Wurm.
→ Project “Glasstress 2011”

[…] the effort seems successful enough. And it is with more than enough stubborn will to conceptual narrowness that the humblest, most prosaic and farthest-fetched house in the world manages to squeeze itself in between generously proportioned palazzos. The case in question is Erwin Wurm’s laterally squashed reproduction of his parents’ house, complete with its meticulously reconstructed inventory. This house is an adaptable thing, emanating a somewhat amphibious or eel-like impression of sliminess as it intrudes wherever it can in its desire to be both solid and liquid.
This seems just too banal a way of dealing with a place that people say causes even weekend visitors from the Alps to give in to their romantic urges. But it is indeed worth paying attention to the really quite problematically amazing phenomenon of how confining structures succeed in having the insane lagoon pander to the boring mainland—a phenomenon that, to my mind, Erwin Wurm has ingeniously encapsulated, or framed, as it were—by also creating a Venetian-style mirror at the distorted scale of his Narrow House. The squeezin of arts and crafts and art production, in terms of their long journeys of suffering, need not necessarily differ from collisions between the everyday and the avant-garde. Wurm shies away from neither, preferring to terrorize (if not necessarily in a narrow-minded way) and to probe limits that are too confining while also demarcating them, so to speak—something in which I, in turn, perceive a commonality with my own work. […]
(From “no stress in the lagoon” by Peter Noever)