Sand cars replace sand castles at Miami art festival Art Basel

Miami Beach (United States) (AFP) –


On Miami Beach, more than 60 cars sculpted out of sand are drawing attention at this year's Art Basel international festival, but the aim of their creator is as much about raising awareness of climate change as tickling art lovers' palates.

The sand cars, which form what looks like a traffic jam sinking into the world-famous beach, have proven a favorite with visitors who snap selfies in front of the installation, entitled "Order of Importance" and created by 46-year-old Argentine sculptor Leandro Erlich.

Erlich told reporters Monday the work is a reflection on the crisis the world is facing due to climate change and "our responsibility, our implication in the events that are starting to happen to the planet."

The title "has to do with understanding what our priorities are right now and thinking about our future," he said.

The artist was walking among the sand cars with Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber, who congratulated Erlich on capturing the contradictory nature of Miami Beach, which is built on a fragile barrier island and facing numerous challenges from climate change, yet also reliant on tourism.

"For someone to be able to create a confluence of these things, the environment, the urbanization, the ecology, so that a person walking by can see it and experience it and think about it in his own way is something spectacular," said Gelber.

Erlich is best known for his work Dalston House, an optical illusion in which he placed a huge mirror at an angle in front of the life-sized replica of a house's facade, giving visitors the sense they were hanging off the building's wall.

Another work featured an illusory swimming pool that allowed people to look like they were walking, fully clothed, under water.