As the title sponsor of Berlin’s Fashion Week, Mercedes-Benz placed some of its own designs into striking art installations meant to represent the eras in which the cars were built.
As part of the “Recollection Quartett,” staged by Mercedes-Benz and MoMu Fashion Museum, Antwerp, Belgian artist and photographer Frederik Heyman placed four cars amidst updated stereotypes of the years between 1967 and 1991.
For instance, though the SL roadster shown above was built in Germany, the artist said it came into its own on Sunset Boulevard during the freewheeling 1970s. Though we seem to recall gas lines, Watergate and skyrocketing interest rates, Heyman and fashion designer Bernhard Willhelm pay tribute to those who spent the entire Carter administration on a mattress at Plato’s Retreat.
Interestingly, the 1980s-era W123 wagon best known in the United States for shuttling wealthy suburbanites between tennis lessons and the pool at the club was popular among West German lumberjacks, tradesmen and outdoors enthusiasts. Mannequins in shoulder pads surrounding an S-Class coupe underneath fragments of a globe made from a chess board represent wealth and power in the late ’80s, while the models’ long shadows show they’re also pawns in that game.
About the only installation we can instantly relate to is the one surrounding the rock-solid W115. Faceless businesspeople in gray flannel suits look like they’ve stepped straight out of a Magritte painting, while a secretary in the front seat types out an advertisement in Arabic that reads “Taxi for sale,” a nod to the livery service the venerable “Stroke 8″ models have offered around the world.
While the settings are certainly high-concept, they’re also proof that cars are as much a product of their respective eras as they are representative of those times.
|The W115 was popular among business types and cab drivers in far-flung locales|
|Bobby Brown drove a 560 SEC, and so did world power players in the late ’80s.|
By Keith Barry January 21, 2011