Can’t see the garden for the cars? Welcome to Martin Kaltwasser's “Los Angeles Garden”! At first glance, one is not even sure whether the six fenced palm trees in the middle are real examples of their species. (Spoiler: Yes, they are.) And, apart from a few mini-grass islands, that’s about all the nature there is:
The rest of the garden is a parking lot, on which two American SUVs stand.
The “Los Angeles Garden” is a project of the artist Martin Kaltwasser, which was created as part of the art process of the IGA Berlin 2017. The “garden” is a detailed replica of the mini garden island of the Car Park at the Bergamot Station Art Center in Santa Monica. The gallery played host to the artistic initiative “Cars Into Bicycles” in 2010, which was designed by Martin Kaltwasser and Folke Köbberling. The installation in the Gärten der Welt sees itself as a direct connection to the initiative launched by the two artists, which addressed the displacement of nature by industry. The absurd extent of this elimination is represented here in exactly 8x9 feet of fenced lawn on which six neatly planted palm trees tower into the sky. The two benches between the parked cars invite you to critically examine this overwhelmingly urban landscape.
Martin Kaltwasser studied art at the Academy of Fine Arts in Nuremberg and architecture at the Technical University of Berlin. Within his humorous, critical work, both subjects are often presented in a mutual relationship. For example, one of his recent works entitled “Here Comes the Rain” explores man's arrogance in dealing with the forces of nature. This involved building replicas of three single-family homes at 1:10 scale within the construction prohibition zone of the flood dikes on the Seseke.