Mercedes’ highly popular G-Class stems from an era of true value in craftsmanship and is one of the longest-produced vehicles in Daimler’s history. Since it was first launched in 1979, the iconic G-Wagen with go-anywhere capabilities has remained true to its values and has won the hearts of many across the globe.
With its utilitarian body and unique character, the four-wheel drive automobile has gained the love of drivers in Dubai as well, becoming the most popular car in the country. That’s precisely why French multidisciplinary artist Julien Boudet has chosen the G-Wagen for his most recent installation, which was displayed at this year’s edition of Art Dubai, the Middle East’s leading international art fair, which took place from March 1-5.
Boudet’s installation included two thought-provoking sculptures titled “Explosion” and “Pressure.” Inspired by the artist’s passion for car culture, the works pay tribute to the iconic Mercedes G-Wagen and challenge the beholder’s perception of reality. They are supposed to make you question what’s real and what’s fake.
As you can see in the image gallery, one of the sculptures – the one called “Pressure” – is a derelict Mercedes G-Wagen with a giant counterfeit AMG basketball on top of it, while “Explosion” shows the SUV overflowing with regular-size basketballs. The signs next to them mention that the G-Wagens are found vehicles, which explains their poor condition and the lack of details on them.
Both vehicles lack some body parts like the front grille and headlights, fender panels, windows, and even the back door on one of them. However, this does not, in the least, affect their functionality as the base for this quirky art installation.
The two so-called “sculptures” are said to be in dialogue with each other and explore the concepts of accumulation and compression. By creating a gargantuan AMG basketball made of styrofoam and using logos and bootleg culture, which is widespread in Dubai, the artist tries to make his work feel genuine. Both sculptures were put together on-site in Dubai, which also adds to their authenticity.
“I am thrilled to have the opportunity to showcase my sculptures in Dubai, a city that has inspired me for years,” Boudet has said. “The Mercedes G Wagon is an iconic symbol of the car culture in Dubai, and I wanted to pay tribute to it with my artwork.”
We are not familiar with the French artist’s previous work, but as it turns out, the duality between real and fake, counterfeit and genuine are common themes for him. Through his artworks, he aims to emphasize the paradox of bootleg as a result of hyper-consumerism. The Art Dubai installation, in particular, wants to highlight our oscillating relationship with objects and material things.
When it comes to art, perception can differ from one person to the other, so we invite you to examine the installation in the gallery above and decide for yourself whether the artist managed to convey his message.