Renault Trafic – hisk

13 May 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on Renault Trafic – hisk

Renault Trafic


A sculptural project in Bois de Boulogne, one of the largest and most famous parks in Paris.

Starting point being an almost objective observing of public space and sensing its inherent (social) problems and solutions, Karl Philips examines and rearranges elements of this chaotic structure. He takes a dynamic position, characterized by his searching for the edge. This marginal position gives him an overall view but also confronts him with limitations, thus causing extreme pragmatic and intuitive reactions.

You may consider this as an expression of basic survival instinct.

After a long history and many facelifts, the Bois the Boulogne was given its present shape by Napoleon III in 1852. Nowadays, the park is an ideal place for those who like walking at leisure or cycling along the paths surrounded by trees, bushes and small ponds. However, once you leave these paths, you enter a hidden world of Paris outcasts, homeless people and junkies who built their settlement with garbage and waste material between and behind the bushes.

Managing with the leftovers from urban setting, they withdrew into the park and claimed their own territory.

After sunset the park turns into a notorious place for sex tourism.

In order to get rid of such image, there have been several attempts in the past to ban prostitution, such as the initiative taken by president Chirac. This made prostitutes move to the paths in the woods. Renault Traffic vans, the cheapest delivery vans in France, were parked by pimps alongside the road, a prostitute seated behind the wheel, clients thus being served in the back of the van.

This explains the Renault logo standing for sex in underground terms.

In his #8216;Renault Traffic #8217;project, Karl Philips parked three Renault Traffic vans, 1983 model, alongside the road in Bois de Boulogne. As is the case with most vans parked there, tires were punctured and wheel axes were supported by stones. This immobilizes the vehicles and bestows a sculptural character on the lot.

The supporting elements became base socles. The doors were welded by the artist. This type of interventions and choices confirm the emphasis on language of shapes and the specific coding of marginal phenomena instead of an emphasis on the phenomena as such.

The overall view gets an acute sense of objectivity, which is emphasized again by the artist in his level-headed action: he dumps (temporarily) the metal structure being a vehicle, alongside the road. The sculpture becomes part of the context and the background. The Renault Traffic is literally taking its place in the traffic already associated with, though involuntary.

Polyester moulds were made of the interior of the Renaults. In the shape of autonomous sculptures, they remind or suggest the context, arouse the imagination of the spectator.

A hidden structure is exposed and is emphasized by the artistic intervention.

First of all, it is arousing the imagination and the curiosity of the spectator. An immanent and elementary attraction is irrefutable. But the project also enters into dialogue with history: in 1863 the same theme at the same location was treated by Edouard Manet in his painting #8220;Le d#233;jeuner sur l#8217;herbe#8221;.

In a subtle way, Philips#8217; project marks a hidden tradition France would rather get rid of.

The Karl Philips statement, though showing formalism, is evidence of a strong capacity to experience empathy. From this perspective, there is a neat portrayal of man, such as in a memorial or a monument. An aspect not easily accepted in contemporary art.

The hidden character of the #8220;underground#8221; enables the language of symbols to evolve.

In this way criminality gets a formal aspect almost purely functional and objective, though at the same time indicating ingenuity and creativity. The line between scrap dealer and artist is getting hazy, thus providing sufficient room for the artist to function, without lapsing into clich#233;d and moralistic ideals. The artist claims the space in which he wants to exist.

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