M.A.D. Gallery Hosts Retro-Futuristic Air Drive Photo Series Exhibition

The MB&F M.A.D. (Mechanical Art Devices) Gallery in Geneva, Switzerland, has had a number of interesting pieces on display in recent times. One such exhibition was the Disintegrating and Hatch series created by Swiss artist Fabian Oefner. Now the Gallery is showcasing the work of another talented artist, French photographer Renaud Marion.

The nine visionary images on display in the exhibition from Marion’s Air Drive series depict ‘flying’ cars, including a Lincoln Continental, a Porsche 356, an Aston Martin DB5, a Mercedes 190SL, a Chevy El Camino, a Jaguar E-Type and an XK120 and a few Mercedes-Benz 300SLs — including legendary American racing driver Paul O’Shea’s.

Taking cues from Marion’s childhood imaginings, the work was inspired by science fiction films and artists. The former graffiti artist’s vision of futuristic transportation in wheel-less cars suspends these magnificent icons serenely above the ground.

The vehicles’ levitation most definitely smacks of Sci-Fi; the vintage classics embodying a throwback blend of retro style with futuristic imaginings. Iconic cars from the glory days of automobile production are transformed into airborne transport, catapulting their vintage design into a visionary age.

Growing up in the 1980s, Marion thought that by the year 2000 everyone would be piloting flying cars, like the landspeeder from Star Wars or the futuristic soaring machines from French artist Moebius. Marion’s dream of one day propelling a floating vehicle has not yet become reality, but in this series the 39-year-old has brought to life the ‘hover’ vehicles of his childhood fantasies.

“As a child, I imagined the new millennium with flying cars, spaceships, parallel worlds, extra-terrestrials living with us on earth and time travel,” says the photographer. “We would have all been dressed up in space outfits and equipped with laser pistols. These are the dreams of a normal child, I think… I hope.”

Motivated by his quest to create the flying cars of his boyhood imagination, Marion developed the unique concept for his Air Drive series. At the end of 2012 in Geneva, the Frenchman shot the first automobile images that he would later manipulate into levitating machines.

“For the first part of the series photographed in Geneva, I chose the cars simply by walking down the street. I looked for cars parked on the side of the road as I wanted to use real size models instead of miniatures,” he says.

Marion chose to shoot classic automobiles because they most closely resembled his childhood idea of what a flying car should look like. The first vehicles he photographed included a Chevrolet El Camino, Mercedes 300SL Roadster and Jaguar XK120, which he posted online. For the follow-up shoot later in Paris, car collectors lent him their prized possessions.

Finding the appropriate environment in which to shoot the vehicles meant seeking out spaces devoid of people and recognizable buildings. The venerable cars take center stage against backgrounds of mid-20th century architecture in varying textures and muted or neutral colors.

“I looked for architecture dating from the 1970s, says Marion. “For me that’s retro-futuristic. The buildings had to be imposing, massive and graphic.”

To achieve the look of ‘flying’ cars, Marion had to apply a digital assembly technique to remove the tires and wheel wells from the classic beauties and merge the cars onto different backgrounds, eventually settling on the right scene for each futuristic portrayal.

The nine images are available in a limited edition of eight 128cm x 90cm prints with a white margin (image 114cm x 76cm); three of those nine images are also available in a limited edition of three 210cm x 140cm prints.


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