Artist Leandro Erlich has caused a traffic jam on Miami Beach. His monumental, site-specific installation called Order of Importance features 66 life-sized sand sculptures of cars and trucks that have seemingly been abandoned on this gritty pathway. And not only that, but they have become one with the landscape itself. This piece marks Erlich’s largest installation to date, and his surreal queue of vehicles was made in response to global climate change.
The array of automobiles is meant to evoke the feeling of ruins, and it’s as if we are approaching them many years after their demise. Order of Importance curator Ximena Caminos spoke of the cars summoning “an image from a contemporary Pompeii.” They comment on the rising sea levels and implore us to consider the consequences if we don’t act now—including the continuing endangerment of coastal cities like Miami (and eventually the rest of the world). Erlich feels compelled to address this environmental catastrophe in his work. The artist’s thought-provoking work offers a chilling look at what could be our future if we—and particularly our world leaders—don’t take the threats of climate change seriously.
“Climate change and its consequences are no longer a matter of perspective or opinion,” Erlich explains in a statement. “The climate crisis has become an objective problem that requires immediate solutions. As an artist, I am in a constant struggle to make people aware of this reality, in particular, the idea that we cannot shrink away from our responsibilities to protect the planet.”
Order of Importance is part of Miami Art Week and is currently on view near the Miami Beach Convention Center until December 15, 2019.