Fascinating layers of art

The 1929 Blower Bentley is sawn up – and becomes an icon in Ralph Lauren’s collection.

Art has many faces. It can unfold as an exciting technical construction, inspiring design art or the picturesque expression of a creative vision. All three of these facets are involved here: the British luxury automobile manufacturer Bentley; Ralph Lauren, the American fashion designer; and the Swiss photographic artist Fabian Oefner. They have all made history individually and have now joined forces to create history together. The legendary Blower Bentley from the year 1929 stands at the centre as the protagonist – plus a saw. But let us tell you the story, and discover, layer by layer, what happens when the paths of art collide.

It was love at first sight when a group of well-heeled and motor racing-crazy young men got together with the British racing driver and car maker Walter Owen Bentley. The year was 1929; the British lads became known as the 'Bentley Boys' and an iconic racing car was created, the Blower Bentley, lovingly named 'the beast' owing to its huge steel bodywork, the 4.4-litre engine and the extremely heavy compressor. Bentley Boy Sir Henry Birkin – with the support of his prominent and wealthy patron Dorothy Paget – persuaded Bentley to build this racing car so that he could take part in the major motor sport events. Only five of a total of 55 Blowers built became super chargers for deployment in motorsport, meaning that today 'the beast' is an absolute rarity and one of the most valuable classic cars. And it is exactly this elite treasure that stands in the garage of fashion designer Ralph Lauren – as part of his unique collection of exquisite vintage cars. This passion brought him together with an artist who caused a sensation with his explosive photographs of luxury sports cars: Fabian Oefner.

Time, space and reality: Swiss photo artist Fabian Oefner, who is based in Connecticut in the USA, finds the foundations for his art in the complex connection between these elements. His work displays moments in which the boundaries between reality and the imaginary are blurred and a delicate balance between authenticity and make-believe is created. Often it is everyday things, which he stages in such a way that they bring our real spatial perception into question: for example, the sculptural series 'Escape Velocity' features a sports shoe, a computer and a saxophone, which burst through the corner of the room. His iconic Disintegrating series is particularly famous: photo-realistic high-tech vehicles such as Mercedes or Lamborghini seem, when you look at them, to explode and shatter into their countless component parts. An elaborate process lies behind this, involving comprehensive research and experiments in which this 39-year-old often collaborates with experts from the fields of science and technology. With his work for Ralph Lauren and the mise-en-scène of the Bentley Blower, Fabian Oefner is continuing his unique style of artistic expression. An original model on a scale of 1:18 is cast in synthetic resin, sawn into thin slices and polished. Bound into a transparent book with leather and gold, it presents a multiple cross-section through the fascinating, always changing inner life of the Blower. Page by page, new never-before-seen perspectives of the vehicle are created – as well as esteem for the artist.

Ralph Lauren is well-known as an international luxury brand for fashion, objects and accessories. Behind the label: Ralph Lauren himself, a highly gifted visionary and designer. When sketching out his designs and collections, he draws inspiration from his everyday life and the things he loves. The latter include cars: he possesses one of the most important and exquisite collections of vintage cars in the world. It includes legends that are the envy of many – such as the Mercedes Benz SSK 'Comte Trossi' of 1930, the 250 'Testa Rossa' of 1958 and yes, also the Bentley Blower of 1929. Some of his original vehicles are also featured in the exhibition in miniature editions – perfect replicas at a scale of 1:18 and manufactured by the British model-making specialists Amalgam Collection. For Ralph Lauren, each of his automobiles is an artwork and a witness of times past; however he doesn’t collect them for the prestige, but because they bring him joy. Each model is an expression of beauty and individual style. He feels enriched by the variety of richly detailed facets: the fine burr wood of the dashboard; the curve of the hubcaps; or the integrated colourful crest. After Ralph Lauren’s 1938 Bugatti Type 57SC Atlantic Coupé served as the inspiration for Fabian Oefner’s Disintegrating series, it’s now the turn of the Bentley Blower to undergo an artistic interpretation.

The work is completed: a glittering iconic artwork you can leaf through like a book has been created from the raw block. The completed book now stands next to the original enthroned on a specially made stand, which is also transparent – ready to reveal to an amazed public its innermost secrets in layers and to tell its artistic story. Another precious one-of-a-kind has joined Ralph Lauren’s collection.

No items found.
Button Text
HOCHEDEL Print Magazin abonnieren
Weitere Beiträge

Das könnte Ihnen auch gefallen.

No items found.
alle Beiträge anzeigen