Life is tenuous and luxury easily lost, as illustrated in brilliant glittering fashion by this perfect replica of a Mercedes Benz S550 that has seen better days. Can arbitrarily assigned status be maintained even once an object has been used, abused and discarded for newer and nicer things? Artist Jordan Griska ruminates on these questions and contradictions with ‘Wreck,’ a crushed vehicle reproduced in faceted mirrored stainless steel.
Though its appearance intimates violence and destruction, the car remains undeniably beautiful thanks to all of those individual panes reflecting light at a slightly different angle, making it look like an oversized gemstone. Philadelphia Contemporary, which premiered the sculpture last fall at the city’s Pier 9, notes that the sculpture touches on the ways in which debauchery and decadence can spin out of control.
“Wreck is based on a computer-generated model of a luxury sedan, in a video game, which was manipulated to look like it was involved in a crash that resulted in a fatality,” says Griska. “I crafted 12,000 individual pieces of mirror-finish stainless steel, over the course of almost two years, in order to transform that model into a full-sized three-dimensional monument.”
“The perfect geometry and flawless materiality of the piece reflect the inspiration of idealized digital design, in stark contrast with the grimness of the reality it represents. Beauty, technology and engineering collide with death and reality.”