Futuristic and retro at the same time, French photographer Renaud Marion has tapped into our obsession with technology and our nostalgia for the past in his photo series, Air Drive.
Nine of the images are on show at M.A.D Gallery, and the series depicts classic vintage cars – a Chevrolet El Camino, a Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster and a Jaguar XK120, for example – levitating off the ground. For Marion, it’s the realisation of his childhood imagination.
“As a child, I imagined the new millennium with flying cars, spaceships, parallel worlds, extra-terrestrials living with us on earth and time travel,” he says. But though here in Dubai we are more than familiar with space-age looking cars, such as Lamborghinis and Ferraris, growing up, Marion’s idea of a flying car was based on the automobiles of his childhood.
The series has been a work in progress since 2012, when Marion shot his first cars in Geneva, Switzerland.
“I chose the cars simply by walking down the street,” he says. “I looked for cars parked on the side of the road as I wanted to use real size models instead of miniatures.”
The cars are the focal point of every image, but finding the right setting for them was just as important, and Marion was determined to find unrecognisable buildings. “I looked for architecture dating from the 1970s. For me, that’s retro-futuristic,” he explains. “The buildings had to be imposing, massive and graphic.”
The resulting whimsical, sci-fi images attracted attention across the globe, so by the time Marion came to do his follow-up shoot in Paris, he was able to borrow cars from collectors, including an Aston Martin DB5 and a Jaguar Type E.
It’s easy to see why his series appealed to them, and the exhibition will appeal to anyone with an appreciation for classic cars, sci-fi or simply beautiful photography. Marion has created a dreamy, yet strangely realistic world that’s easy to imagine, but still disappointingly out of reach.
“Science fiction is everywhere,” he says. “Is it here to prepare us to fly in spaceships, to meet people with powers or simply to drive flying cars?”
We can only wonder…
Free. Sat-Thu 10am-7pm. M.A.D Gallery, Alserkal Avenue, Al Quoz (04 330 7366).
Four fantastic photography galleries
The outlets vary in their stock, but this is a great place to pick up souvenir prints and larger pieces of photography with a focus on the UAE.
Various locations including The Walk, JBR, www.g-1.com.
Gulf Photo Plus
Known for its workshops, events and online marketplace of equipment, it stands to reason that this Alserkal Avenue gallery is also well worth a look.
Alserkal Avenue, Al Quoz, www.gulfphotoplus.com (04 380 8545).
Order prints online or visit the gallery to pick up stunning photographs, from Tommy Clarke’s aerial beach shots to edgy celebrity portraits and more.
City Walk, Al Safa Street, ae.lumas.com (04 343 6808).
The Empty Quarter
One of the best fine art photography galleries in the city, past exhibitions have played host to the work of greats including Steve McCurry and Bruno Barbey.
Gate Village 2, DIFC, www.theemptyquarter.com (04 323 1210).