Fabian Oefner Meshing of Art + Science | by Mallory Johnson, 2019 Summer Intern
We recently chose one of Fabian Oefner’s disintegrating car images for a special client’s new auto gallery (designed byBlue Lantern Studios). The image will be customized to match the bright Mexico Blue of the owner’s personal Audi R8 which will be stored (among other vehicles) in the new space. The alteration of the original color not only makes this image exclusive to the client but it functions as an essential design element to tie the space together. This project goes to show that any room can be enhanced by the addition of artwork. Oefner’s dynamic, detailed and illusionistic image brings personalization and beauty to a space that is designed to be so much more than just a garage.
Oefner himself is an internationally renowned Swiss photographer whose work has been showcased from New York to Dubai. The artwork selected for this project comes from his series of images showing cars breaking apart. This particular large-scale photograph shows an Audi R8 frozen in time as it disintegrates. The front end of the vehicle is still intact while the rear is quite literally breaking away in front of our eyes. Against the black background every metallic component of the car stands out. Oefner allows the viewer to experience something that in reality would only last a split second. There is a certain satisfaction in not only being able to watch time stop, but also to see the inner workings of a luxury vehicle. On top of that, what we are looking at is entirely created by the artist. It is not a genuine explosion captured by Oefner’s camera, but a hyper realistic rendering based on thousands of individual photographs.
In order to create the Disintegrating series of images, Oefner photographs each part of the car, even the most miniscule elements. While it is a painstaking process, the outcome is an intricate image that highlights the elegance and integrity of each vehicle. There is a certain musical quality to the work as well. The way he has perfectly orchestrated this car to come apart makes the viewer feel as though they are watching a symphony of auto parts in which each nut and bolt is essential to the whole image. He stays true to the construction of each specific car, which ensures that the authenticity of the piece rings true even though it is a manufactured “explosion.” Oefner is unique in his conception of the image; it is a scientific dissection of the whole vehicle rather than just the fiery wreckage of a high-performance car.
One major element at play in this artwork is the concept of time. In his own words, “There is a unique pleasure about artificially building a moment… Freezing a moment in time is stupefying.” Oefner’s scientific approach to art and a preoccupation with conceptual ideas are best explained in his 2013 TED talk, “Psychedelic Science.” In this intriguing talk, Oefner explains his artistic purpose and offers insight into how he brings his images to life. He clearly has both an artistic and analytical mind; this combination allows him to manipulate a concept such as sound and make it into something that you can see. His work is both visually stunning and extremely playful, especially regarding the pieces showcased in his TED talk. The colors are bright and bold and similar to the Disintegrating images. There is a focus on bringing attention to even the smallest aspects. As for his purpose as an artist, he states that, “what I’m trying to do as a photographer, as an artist is to bring the world of art and science together.” Both science and art are responses to their surroundings, by combining the two concepts he is creating, “Images [that] speak to the viewer’s heart but also to the viewer’s brain.” Oefner’s purpose is evident in each of his Disintegrating images, he is appeasing human curiosity by displaying the insides of the car splintering into space.
You can check out more of Oefner’s work here: LINK | Or watch his TED talk here: LINK