Germany 'Los Angeles Garden'

Martin Kaltwasser

The design by Berlin artist Martin Kaltwasser was conceived as part of the art proceedings of IGA Berlin 2017 GmbH and complements the positions exhibited here by international landscape architecture firms. His “Los Angeles Garden” can be understood both as a reference to Berlin’s oldest partner city and as an autobiographical work by the artist. The garden is a detailed replica of the miniature garden island at the Bergamot Station Car Park and its immediate surroundings. The Bergamot Station Art Center in Santa Monica is one of the largest complexes of art galleries in Greater Los Angeles and was the site of the 2010 art action “Cars Into Bicycles” by Folke Köbberling and Martin Kaltwasser. The Bergamot Station Car Park, which belongs to the art center, shows explicitly how the monoculture of the automobile has almost completely displaced nature. An 8 x 9 metre, fenced-in lawn, with six high palm trees arranged hexagonally and two opposing benches, is surrounded by an asphalt surface and parked cars. Thus, encapsulated in one of the garden cabinets emerges a critical discourse of an entire urban ideology. The car park incorporates just a few, tiny alibi garden plots, like the million such plots strewn across the urban areas of Los Angeles, a city almost completely homogenised by the monoculture of automobile.

Martin Kaltwasser

Martin Kaltwasser studied art at the Academy of Fine Arts, Nuremberg, and architecture at the Technical University of Berlin. He has become known for his partnership with Folke Köbberling. In their work the artists often use leftover materials that they find in waste containers on construction sites throughout the city, thus anything consumed, spent or discarded in the city’s ongoing urban development. For the Oikos Theatre Festival in 2010, for instance, they built the Jellyfish Theatre, a spectacular piece of architecture constructed with more than one hundred volunteers in the heart of the British capital. In addition to temporary and participative urban alterations, the artist’s work more and more often comprises permanent sculptural installations. For instance, his project “Here comes the rain again” included building three solid concrete replicas of one-family homes – at 1:10 scale – in the middle of the no-cultivation zone along the flood banks of the Seseke. The work is a critical discourse on the arrogance of humanity in relation to the forces of nature and a commentary on urban sprawl without aesthetic design limitations. In a very practical manner the concrete sculptures also provide unusual seating opportunities along the renaturated river. This installation bears the critical yet humorous signature of the artist, which
can also be found in the realisation of the L.A. Garden.

Facts and figures

Planning Martin Kaltwasser
Contracting authority IGA Berlin 2017
Financing Funded by the DKLB
Opening date

13 April 2017 for the IGA Berlin 2017