Nicolai Howalt: Car Crash Studies

“After the commonplaces of everyday life, with their muffled dramas, all my organic expertise for dealing with physical injury had long been blunted or forgotten. The crash was the only real experience I had been through for years” J.G.Ballard.

Car Crash Studies, a thought provoking photographic study of cars that have been involved in severe and potentially fatal accidents. The series moves between documentation and abstraction. While the car crash studies are typographical in nature, seeming in some instances to be closer to sterile accident report photographs, the subject matter most obviously begs the viewer to confront the human fear of trauma and death.

Several of the images are vividly abstract and look more like landscapes than slashed up metal. Collided bodywork, dents and cracks in varnish appear as highly enlarged details in the monumental works. These ‘color plains’ become the ultimate instance of beauty created from suffering, pain and destruction.

Although Car Crash Studies is specifically based on cars that have been involved in accidents, Howalt’s works rather attempt to portray an abstract, mental state, namely the duality we feel in relation to accidents or catastrophes when experienced from a
distance – as spectators. The exhibition at Bruce Silverstein Gallery thus approaches classical themes, but in contemporary
interpretation.” www.nicolaihowalt.com

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