Fabian Oefner

Swiss Photographer’s Disintegrating II Series is a Masterful Mix of Media

Swiss photographer Fabian Oefner is at it again, showcasing the second part of his acclaimed Disintegrating photographic series with another installation at Geneva-based M.A.D. Gallery’s Taipei outpost as well as in Dubai and Geneva. Disintegrating II is an exhibition of five large-format prints.

The artworks on display are part of Oefner’s Disintegrating series, which follows the original series that debuted at the MB&F M.A.D. Gallery in 2013. Like the first exhibition, the images of the Disintegrating II series are exploded views of iconic cars that Oefner has painstakingly created by deconstructing scale-models and photographing each component to create the illusion of an exploding automobile.

It took Oefner two months and over 2,000 photos to create each of the five artworks, which consists of exploded views of an Auto Union Type C (1936-1937), Maserati 250F (1957), Ford GT40 (1969), Bugatti 57 SC (1934-1940), and Porsche 956 C (1982).

While photography usually captures moments in time, Oefner’s Disintegrating series is all about inventing the moment. The photo series fools the observer into seeing the images as computer-generated renderings rather than the real photographs that they are.

“What you see in these images is a moment that never existed in real life. What looks like a car falling apart is, in fact, a moment in time that has been created artificially,” says Oefner. “I have always been fascinated by the clean, crisp looks of 3D renderings. So I tried to use that certain type of aesthetic and combine it with the strength of real photography.”

Oefner first sketched out where the individual pieces would go on paper. He then took the model cars apart, piece-by-piece, from the body shell right down to the minuscule screws. Each car contained over a thousand components.

Following his initial sketch, he then put each piece in place individually with the aid of fine needles and pieces of string. After meticulously working out the angle of each shot and establishing the right lighting, he took thousands of photographs of the component.

All these individual photos were then blended together in post-production to create one single image. With the wheels acting as a reference point, each part was masked in Photoshop, cut and then pasted into the final image.

“It took almost two months to create an image that looks as if it was captured in a fraction of a second. The whole disassembly in itself took more than a day for each car due to the complexity of the models,” says Oefner, who concedes that the hardest part was actually setting up the camera, lens and light.

“It’s a bit of a boy thing,” Oefner concludes. “There’s an enjoyment in the analysis, discovering something by taking it apart – like peeling an onion.”


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