Racing Cars The Art Dimension

by | 05. Sep 2012

Exhibitions and Events

Photo: Uffe KjaerFerrari 500, 1952

The Art Dimension exhibition presents 19 Formula 1 and Le Mans-racers in a unique installation by Danish artist Ingvar Cronhammar, with soundscape by Danish avant-garde composer Martin Hall.

Photo: arcspace

Looking at racing cars as “Sculpture on Wheels,” not just as functional items, but also as pure form, the exhibition creates a symbiosis between two widely differing worlds – art and the ultimate in motor sports. The focus on the sculptural and aesthetic dimensions of the cars give visitors an understanding of the dynamics in the form language.

Photo: Uffe KjaerAlfa Romeo Bimotore, 1936
Photo: Uffe KjaerVanwall Streamliner, 1957

The exhibited racing cars are presented on steel podiums in an installation of light, sound and moving images.

The cars, not only unique in their design forms, have been active on racetracks around the world with legendary drivers as Stirling Moss, Ronni Petersson and Jackie Stewart behind the wheel.

Photo: Uffe KjaerAuto Union D-Type, 1939
Photo: Uffe KjaerMaserati 250F, 1955
Photo: Uffe KjaerWilliams BMW FW 23, 2001
Photo: Uffe KjaerFerrari F2002, 2002
Photo: Uffe KjaerJaguar R3, 2002

The walls have been painted black, the floor covered with reflecting steel plates, the gallery columns turned into red, metallic pistons, and the lights into giant piston rings.

Reliefs on the black walls show the contours of the world’s Formula 1 racetracks.
The many visual impressions are supported by an acoustic soundscape.

Photo: arcspace
Photo: arcspace

Film sequences in the theater tell the design history of the Formula 1 and Le Mans cars since 1932, and through almost three-quarters of a century, providing an insight to the design of the cars, and the power built into them.

Most of the exhibited Formula 1 and Le Mans cars are on loan from the world’s largest collection of Grand Prix racing cars, Tom Wheatcroft’s Donington Grand Prix Collection in Derby, England, through Danish racing driver and exhibition consultant, Thorkild Thyrring.

Among the exhibited cars are: Ferrari, McLaren, Tyrell, Lotus, Panoz, Jaguar, Vanhall, Maserati, Jaguar, Audi and Alfa Romeo.

We know that cars of this type are driven with the body and that you feel and steer the car with your entire body.

Against the background of the organic unity of driver and car that we experience in Formula 1 in action, the absence of the driver in the exhibition becomes yet more striking. In ordinary cars you sit behind the steering wheel, but in present-day Formula 1 cars the driver is fitted into the speed machine like a larva in its cocoon. When, on stopping, the driver pulls himself out of the car or is pulled out by a team hurrying to help, the effect is one of an amputation or a culinary act that could be carried out with a lobster fork.

The car is left like an empty shell. This has an effect all the more powerful as a result of the erotic connotations that have always been associated with the most powerful racing cars. Suspended during the race, the drivers fling their cars from side to side in staccato, writhing, zigzag movements. The purpose is to keep the tires warm. But sitting in the tightly enclosing car, with only his head sticking up, it appears as if the driver turns himself and the car into a dildo. The driver’s motor function and the car’s reactions are coordinated; the organ extension lives and obeys.

In contrast to the raised driving position formerly occupied by drivers, a position in which they seemed both heroic and individually recognisable, drivers today are not only anonymous, but packed inside the entire organism of the car. The most powerful expression of triumph in the winning driver, which is only caught by the close-up camera in the car, consists of a thumbs up sign or a clenched fist.

The absence of the driver in the exhibition imposes a limit to the public, but is also acts as a spooky deficiency, an anatomical void.

/Carsten Thau, Excerpted from the catalog