The Cars + Art Equation Always Delivers The Visual Goods
Photography by Armand Rosalie
Planned at the right time of the year, Wine & Water’s beautifully-organized weekend of cars and art—known simply as L’Image—took place at a time when autumn is coming to an end as the last bits of foliage fall from the trees; the season when morning dew on car windows is a daily nuisance. The glee of summertime is long gone and the comfort of autumn takes on a bitter edge as we start to settle into our winter tempos. The transitional season hides this game with pretty orange colors, but soon the cold punches through. So what to do? Why not go to the southwest of France where the weather’s a bit warmer and there’s a promise of entering an ephemeral universe dedicated to the aesthetic of classic cars? My friend Julien proposed a short road trip to accompany him for a road trip across France from Strasbourg to Bordeaux.
On the road, we follow behind Julien’s E12 5-Series. It is laden: in the trunk are a crowd of framed photos that will be displayed for this event, the second edition of L’Image. A one-day exhibition at the Darwin Center in Bordeaux, it aims to bring together the piece of the French art scene inspired by vintage mechanics. An initiative that one owes to the group of friends behind Wine & Water, who make it all possible.
Gathered in a hangar of the former military barracks among the selection of cars are the artists’ works. The first event of its kind to be held here, out of twenty-five invitations sent, twenty-four exhibitors responded to take part in this celebration of vintage aesthetics. The show consists of photographs, certainly, but also paintings, clothing, music, tattoos… The works presented are qualitative, and the visitors are delighted at the variety of mediums at play. As long as the artists take their inspiration from the kinds of machines we all love—as long as there is an emotion—each work or act of art under the ochre-colored garlands of light illuminates the space with its unique value.
The mixture of genres is a good reminder to open your mind to new things, because the obvious influences in these works come from not just the main staples of the classic car world, but also modified ones, big American creations and spritely European sports cars are represented. After having a walk around the venue to admire the selection, we gather ourselves up on the old leather sofas to listen to the artists playing the blues while others step outside for a smoke break or two catch up with friends as they arrive.
Going to Bordeaux, I of course planned to meet my buddies from Garage Sunday that I got to know at the beginning of this summer, but I always end up making new friends and meeting new people at events like these. The perfect organization of the weekend, which required almost a year of work from the team, allowed everyone else the pleasure of a leisurely time spent among a collection of great art, cars, and of course, people . Florian and Antton, members of Wine & Water, explain that in addition to the exhibition, they really wanted to create a moment of community, a family atmosphere. It’s a success in our books, because upon our arrival we all felt like immediate family with these people we’d met a few minutes ago.
Lucky enough to accompany an exhibitor, we were able participate in the pre-exhibition fun. On Saturday, we had a meal near Wine & Water’s headquarters, and in that a Bordeaux restaurant we brought together the main players of the event, turning our group into something more like Wine & Wine in the process!
It feels good to extend the summer a bit more, and to finish the (outdoor) car season on a perfect event like this. The level of quality was so high, I cannot wait to go back for the next editions. In a time where the importance of the image is ubiquitous, especially on social media, this aptly-named event, L’Image, is the missing link between Instagram and real life: it allows us to meet people that we might follow online, grants us the ability to make these connections face to face. Here’s to L’Image 2019, something I am certain to be looking forward to once the cars come back out of hibernation.