70 years after World War II, some places in Germany are still rebuilding. For this and other reasons, the sight of a construction crane is a common blight upon the German skyline. But in the artsy city of Karlsruhe, they’ve got a knack for turning even the dreariest tokens of the post-industrialized landscape into something surreal and wonderful.
Case in point: this sculpture by Argentinian artist Leandro Erlich, which dangles a row house constructed after the style of architect Friedrich Weinbrenner from the arm of a crane. Wiggling its roots over the site of an under-construction subway station in Karlsruhe Marktplatz, Erlich’s sculpture looks like some inebriated crane operator literally yanked a building out of the ground, as cleanly as an amateur dentist pulling a tooth out with a pair of pliers.
Called, appropriately enough, Pulled by the Roots Erlich tells Dezeen that the piece is meant to “challenge the residents’ perception of the construction works as an ‘eyesore’ and to act as a reminder that ‘underneath the tons of metal and concrete of our cities, a vital organic presence remains.'” The ZKM Center for Art and Media further elaborates that it is meant to symbolize themes such as familial uprooting and engineering.
The piece will dangle above the construction site until September, when Erlich will grab a pair of bolt cutters, shimmy down the crane’s hoist to the house roof, then dramatically snap the rope, bungee-cording to safety while the sculpture crashes to the ground, completely obliterating the just-completed subway station. At least, I wish: in reality, it will likely be removed in a far more subdued manner. Probably involving more cranes.