About a month ago I posted a last-minute event alert on our CFX|NL sister site, to try and tempt some of my Dutch buddies into visiting a one-off local 'car meets art' happening downtown Tilburg; the AutoSalon. Rik picked up the gauntlet and brought his son Henk along, while Gerard went to check out the Auto Salon's audio channel on the 013 rock temple stage.
I wonder how many unsuspecting car-lovers were lured into that underground parking in the city centre, only to find out that some local artists (a.kold_images. the illustrious Tilburg CowBoys) had set them up for something completely different. Spread out over most of the bottom level of the multi-storey car park were not cars, but art. Automotive art. Well, there were parked cars in between. And a couple of show room exhibits. Or was this all part of the event?
All was kind of difficult to fathom. The first surprise came pretty soon though. After a harmless collection of photographs (Dutch owners of American muscle), some of the more unsettling exhibits grabbed us before we knew it. Not aware of what could be our part, we sat down in an old boxy Volvo 740 – only to witness a modern dance performance from the comfy seats in this safe and protective Swedish enclosure.
The dance… was very modern indeed, and seemed inspired by creepy horror movies if anything. Our car was standing still, yet a hysterically running damsel chased it down the deck. And before we knew it, we'd hit and run over something (someone) in the front. Disturbing. The Vloeistof ('Fluid') dancers kept disappearing and popping up, out of nowhere, did a 'Blair Witch' closing scene under the ramp and ended up perched right onto our windscreen, eyes staring as possessed body snatchers, out to do something unspeakably horrible to us, harmless passengers. They finished, of course, on the roof of the Volvo, rocking it about while peering down the sunroof. It was not a very comfortable feeling when, at the end, they suddenly jerked the doors open.
Car related, yes, I guess. But from quite a different perspective.
On that same note, a bit further down, a collection of road kills had been artistically framed and arranged by Bart Jansen. Not a lot of time was spent on preparation (or should I say preservation) of the artwork though – the stench was unbearable. Thank God, Bart had decided not to also run his second exhibition piece, 'Fuel Press', there and then; this perpetuum mobile was pressing seeds, in order to extract oil – to run its own engine. Weird and wonderful.
While one artist had violently fired rounds at a white UN car before compressing it to a small package of rusted metal, rubber and textile, another one had merely painted shadows and refections of a car on the concrete floor, setting off the alarm of this invisible vehicle if one approached its 'private space' footprint too closely.
Others had taken a more straightforward approach and built tangible visions of their dream vehicles – be it a stationary, dragster-like tribute to 30's and 40's silver arrow race cars in welded steel, or a bizarre polyester trailer that looked like an amputated Beetle with large tumor-like bulges on its back. The tumor-bug, also known as Appenda 3000, was towed through the city all weekend long, leaving behind bemused (or just plain confused) spectators.
The (moving part of the) exhibition had in fact started off on Day One with the 'Merry Go Roundabout', a 'live' merry-go-round on one of the city's roundabouts (this time including full size icons like the obligatory fire truck, a convertible, horse cart and two motorcycles, side-by-side of course) and also included a driving Boom Car Concert, which randomly appeared throughout the city. Next to these 'traditionally' tuned hot hatches (is there such a thing as traditional customizing?), the 'Ben Hur Tuning Studio' offered a more ground breaking pimping service for individual cars – applying large, hand painted decals that varied from imagery of flames and animals to …Frankfurter sausages.
That all? Well… no.
Hand drawn animations (including one of a thumping engine in line art) were projected by artist Nick Castricum on the hood of a white Daihatsu, while Paul Veroude -of Jenson Button Honda F1 fame- had meticulously arranged and laid out all the components of a torn-down Toyota 1000, resulting in an almost religious pattern. Danitsja van Dijk re-created a traffic jam with inflatable youngtimers…
..old_imagesnd all of this inside a poorly lit car park.
underground – in more ways than one.