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Taking cues from his childhood imaginings and inspired by science-fiction films and artists, Marion depicts his vision of futuristic transportation of wheel-less cars serenely suspended above the ground. But he has included a neat twist: While the vehicles’ levitation most definitely smacks of sci-fi, the cars are in fact modified vintage classics, including Chevrolets, Mercedes, Jaguars, Aston Martins and Porsches.
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Maximilian Büsser, Founder and Creator of MB&F M.A.D.Gallery, on Air Drive and Marion: “Air Drive teleported me somewhere between my early years and the film Gattaca. There is incredible poetry and whimsy in Renaud Marion and his creations. I loved his world at first sight.”
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The images that emerge are a throwback blend of retro style with futuristic imaginings. Iconic cars from the glory days of automobile production are transformed into airborne transport, catapulting their vintage design into a visionary age. The pictures are really quite surreal.
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Growing up in the 1980s, Marion thought that by the year 2000 everyone would be piloting flying cars, like the landspeeder from Star Wars or the futuristic soaring machines from French artist, Moebius. Marion’s dream of one day propelling a floating vehicle has not yet become reality but in this series, the 41-year-old has brought to life the ‘hover’ vehicles of his childhood fantasies.
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Motivated by the idea that “our dreams of today are the reality of tomorrow,” and his quest to create the flying cars of his boyhood imagination, Marion developed the unique concept for his Air Drive series. At the end of 2012 in Geneva, the Frenchman shot the first automobile images that he would later manipulate into levitating machines.
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Capturing the idea in his head of what constitutes a “flying car” and making it palpable required a two-step “manufacturing” process. The first step involved finding the subjects of the shoot and identifying the locations; the second involved the equipment.
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Finding the appropriate environment in which to shoot the autos meant seeking out spaces devoid of people and recognizable buildings. The venerable cars take centre stage against backgrounds of mid-20th century architecture in varying textures and muted or neutral colours.
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To achieve the look of “flying” cars, Marion had to apply a digital assembly technique to remove the tires and wheel wells from the classic beauties and merge the cars onto different backgrounds, eventually settling on the right scene for each futuristic portrayal.
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These photographic anachronisms garnered a lot of attention when the imaginative artist initially posted them online. Classic car lovers, science fiction fans and photo and art admirers were suddenly followers of Renaud Marion.