For this series, New York based artist Shelter Serra cast vintage engines that have come to define the American car culture of the late 1960’s and 1970’s. Five unique car engines were used to create 17 custom sculptures for Helmut Lang. Engine Blocks will be displayed in our stores from November 7– January 7, 2013.
Shelter, who is the nephew of American sculptor Richard Serra, is well known for his cast-silicone sculptures of Fake Roley Bracelets, Birkin bags, and Beer Cans. He explores a sculptural practice of casting everyday objects in unique materials to replicate archetypes of our culture.
Q&A WITH ARTIST, SHELTER SERRA
What model engines are these casts from?
Among the five car engines are the 351 Windsor V8 from the 1969 Ford Mustang, a 426 Chrysler Hemi Long Block, and a few Chevy 454 “Tall Decks.” The engine blocks have been reduced to a solitary form, cast with injected foam that has been uniquely dyed in a variety of colors.
What is the process and material?
The foam injection process is an extension of conventional injection molding. First, an inert gas is introduced to a liquid polymer. Then, the high density polyurethane foam is used to fill an empty mold creating a solid object. It is a very similar material and process akin to the fabrication of car interiors and machine prototypes.
What is the inspiration for the work?
This project developed from a sculptural practice of casting everyday objects in unique materials and replicating archetypes of our culture. Through altering the materiality and context of the engine blocks, aspects of our everyday environment are reexamined.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
California native and New York-based artist, Shelter Serra transforms his ideas into a wide range of media from drawing and print to sculpture and video. Born in 1972, Serra studied studio art at the University of California at Santa Cruz and received a Master of Fine Art from the Rhode Island School of Design. His work has been exhibited nationally and internationally at galleries including Cystem Gallery (Tokyo), Space 1026 (Philadelphia), Perry Rubenstein Gallery (New York), and Renwick Gallery (New York).
PHOTOGRAPHY BY CONNIE ZHOU