Eric van Hove: V12 / 3 July - 20 September 2014
Eric van Hove (b.1975) is a nomadic artist whose work is committed to creating links between local and global issues. In February 2014 he presented 'V12 Laraki' (2013), the conclusion of nine months of work and center piece to the Marrakech Biennale.
'V12 Laraki' is a replica of the Mercedes-Benz V12 engine used by Abdeslam Laraki in the 'Laraki Fulgara', Morocco’s first ever high-performance, luxury sports car. Laraki had hoped to manufacture the car entirely in Morocco, but was forced to import its engine from Germany. 'V12 Laraki' brings the dream of an entirely Moroccan-made engine full circle. Each of its 465 components were handcrafted in 53 traditional materials, including ceramic, bone, tin, goatskin, and terracotta, by fifty-seven Moroccan artisans. Both the V12 Mercedes-Benz and the V12 Laraki are equal if nontransferable products of human excellence—the former of a hundred years of Western engineering, the latter of a thousand years of Moroccan heritage. Now housed in the collection of the Hood Museum, the complete engine is overwhelming in its complexity.
In his first London solo exhibition, Van Hove breaks down and focuses on sections of the engine, allowing the viewer to fully appreciate the impact of each individual in making the work. The project is as much moral as it is conceptual, rethinking the position and application of craft skills in Post-Fordist times. Each work is signed and authored by the craftsmen involved as well as by the artist himself.
In Morocco there are estimated to be more than 3 million craftsmen working today, but most are locked into a life of repetition. In order to sustain themselves they must constantly replicate the same tried and tested, tourist pleasing designs, knowing that deviation could risk their livelihoods. In producing 'V12 Laraki' and subsequent projects the artist was conscious to allow each individual creative freedom within replicating the engines parts and professional development as together they faced new technical challenges.
While the project is concerned with locating a role for traditional skills in contemporary life, it is simultaneously interested in historicising the V12 engine - ushering in the demise of something so ludicrously wasteful and environmentally harmful, as we move towards an influx of hybrid and low consumptions engines.
Click here to see the artist CV.