The Home in “View Suspended”
Sculpture by Paul Veroude, Lighting by Simon Corder, Curated by Aoife O’Brien, for Artwise – created for Honda Racing/Mercedes for the Shanghai Show 2005, London Motor Show 2006-07
Assistants : Mike Depster, Jeremy Roskrow, Paul Fields, Carl Knox, Kate Smithson, Philip Kassapian
Walking around a space, parts hang like windchimes from the ceiling, the shape is distinctive, but you’ve never seen this object de-constructed like this before. The objects are so stationary but the complete sum of the parts, can travel a ‘maximum of 231.5mph’ (Bellingham). Paul Veroude’s ‘View Suspended’ explodes a F1 car and dramatically suspends it from the ceiling. Snapshot in time.
‘View Suspended’ is a sculpture artwork that was developed for Mercedes to promote their takeover of Honda Racing in 2005. The artwork was first shown at the Shanghai Motor Show 2005. The original version of ‘View Suspended’ included 3,200 exploded parts of the, then current, Honda Racing 2005 B.A.R Honda 007 F1 Car – suspended from the ceiling by very fine metal wire.
‘View Suspended’ took 2 years to devise and plan. It came to fruition when Aoife O’Brien, an Artwise curator, came to one of Veroude shows in Rotterdam 2003, where he had deconstructed his car into the most basic of elements onto a gallery floor. O’Brien introduced Veroude to Honda’s Deputy Technical Director, at the time, Gary Savage. They devised a plan together to create a piece of artwork that would ‘combine engineering and sculpture’ (Savage).
Savage provided Veroude with a 2005 B.A.R Honda 007 F1 race car, as well as supporting him with engineers and mechanics from Honda to create his suspended sculptural artwork. It took Veroude 8 weeks to create his sculpture – once he received the parts from Honda. Veroude and the engineers designed a metal structure to suspend the parts of the car on metal wire. Each part of the supportive structure was split into 5 sections that could then be
reassembled in the gallery space. The final work takes 4 days to assemble and 2 days to dissemble for a team of 4. Each component of the car is suspended – from the nuts and bolts to the exhaust, rims, tyres etc. The final work in Shanghai was designed to be a spectacle, almost theatrical in a way, so the expertise of Simon Corder was employed to light the work. Corder employed beams of light that would wrap around the entire sculpture. The sculpture immediately has a theatrical quality about it blending; science, engineering, theatre, and sculpture together.
Veroude’s work is not only a sculptural artwork showing the engineering marvel of an F1 car but also it is a self-reflection of the artist’s life and where he most feels at home. In an interview by F1 Technical Veroude talks about how the individual parts to him do not create the entire home but together they create “the life of a car”.
“The project was a bit like my life, in my life, things are coming together. I can exert control to bring in some influences and keep out others. View Suspended is a search for the ‘echo’ of life. All the parts are put together in a certain moment and from that second there is the start of the life of the car.” (F1 technical)
Veroude’s work went viral on the internet, and he earned more commission work including a work he titled “View Suspended II” for Mercedes Benz – for their new location Benz World. “View Suspended II” was first displayed in 2010 and is on permeant display.Veroude also worked for Dongfeng Nissan exploding their Nissan Teana. Veroude titled the work “Journey in Motion” this was his first car to suspend which was not an F1 Car. Veroude also branched out into sculpting aviation when in 2014 he was commissioned by Givenchy’s designer Riccardo Tisci to explode a 2-seater plane.
Veroude is not the first artist to suspend his work to create theatrics. Sculptural artist Cornelia Parker suspended her work “Cold Dark Matter: An Exploded View” and “Neither From Nor Towards” in a similar manner. These works were suspended from the ground and allowed the viewer to walk around the sculpture. Strong lighting is also used to highlight the sculptures. It is interesting to note that Parkers work, such as “Neither From Nor Towards” uses man made items just like Veroude, in the form of bricks – although the work looks so much more natural, the items having been eroded by the sea. Smoothed by nature. Both artist deal with the sense of home. Parker’s work being bricks from literal homes eroded by nature, with undertones of environmental erosion. Veroude’s work is more holistic – he is at home with his machine, displaying and celebrating this engineering marvel.
Veroude’s work highlights the relationship we have with machines and engineering. A car being such a reliable item that we travel in that keeps us safe. However, Veroude’s work runs deeper, it displays a human technical marvel. Through theatre he manages to celebrate human engineering achievement.
“The fine tuning of the parts is exceptional. The car is built up in a very pure and clear way. Each component plays a part but alone they do not make memories or history. It is only when they are united that they become significant, creating a powerful machine that can achieve great speed thanks to the skills and expertise of the team.” (F1 Technical)
However, it is not the celebration of human achievement that is most tantalizing, instead it is the connectedness that Veroude has for the machine. Veroude seems connected and at home creating, building, working on a machine – a piece of artwork. He seems most comfortable with machines. They make sense. Machines are in all parts of our lives, inside our homes, we rely on them for a great many things. Veroude, in his work, highlights, the intricacies of the machine and thus highlights the importance of celebrating a machine. The F1 machine, the peak of performance cherishes human engineering, and represents the strive for creating excellence and perfection.
Veroude seems at home with creating and exploding this machine, there is so much focus, it is an allegory of how he lives his life.