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ADRENALIN
A UNIQUE EXPLORATION OF A FORMULA ONE ENGINE
SOLO SHOW BY ANGELA PALMER IN COLLABORATION WITH RENAULT SPORT F1

NOVEMBER 19 – DECEMBER 23, 2014

THE FINE ART SOCIETY,
148 NEW BOND STREET,
LONDON W1S 2JT
ALL WORKS WILL BE ON SALE FROM RECEIPT OF CATALOGUE

Artist Angela Palmer was given unprecedented access to the highly secretive
world of Formula One engineering to realise the extraordinary collection of sculptures for this show.

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In collaboration with Renault Sport F1, the artist deconstructed the world’s most successful F1 engine, the RS27, with the help of their pioneering engineers at their F1 laboratories in Paris. The V8 engine powered Fernando Alonso to the world championship in 2006 and won a further four consecutive titles with Sebastian Vettel from 2010 to 2013. Renault design and build F1 engines for Infiniti Red Bull Racing, Lotus F1 Team, Scuderia Toro Rosso and Caterham F1 Team in the FIA Formula One World Championship.

Angela Palmer was supplied with the engineers’ CAD drawings as well as unique engine parts from the V8, each numbered and inscribed; it is material normally guarded with the strictest secrecy to prevent industrial espionage. However a dramatic rule change from 2013 to 2014 saw the V8 replaced by the downsized turbocharged V6 equipped with newly developed energy recovery systems. It was this change that provided the opportunity for Renault to unlock its sensitive data to Palmer.

The artist visited Renault’s HQ in Viry-Chatillon where she found a scene more akin to a neuroscience laboratory than a factory. ‘I was shown a set of components, each the product of the most complex scientific skills, engineered to the last micron to perform at their optimum. The dramatic evolution in engineering has unintentionally bestowed these components with a by-product to their primary function – aesthetic beauty of form, alas rarely appreciated beyond their creators in this closely guarded world.’ In her sculptures, Palmer shifts the focus from function and mechanism to the visual power of form and material.

The artist used a variety of materials dictated by the sculptural language of the individual components and dramatically upscaled them – for example, she has recreated the V8 crankshaft into a seven-foot high ‘totem’ in walnut while one of the small cogs inspired a four-foot column in Portland stone. Drawn to the ‘intestinal’ qualities of the exhaust systems, she doubled their size, creating the right in walnut and the left in red-hot orange, reflecting its searing colour in action (the V8 exhaust reaches 1000 degrees celsius within 5 seconds). Palmer has also recreated the V8 engine life-size in glass, by hand drawing the cross-sections of the engine on multiple sheets of glass. The impression is the engine ‘floating’ in space, accompanied by headphones with the sound of the much lamented V8, now replaced by the less thunderous V6. The glass re-creation is shown in the exhibition alongside the actual V8.

Ann Hindry, the curator of Renault’s renowned art collection, said the work created by the artist is ‘so much related to what Renault has always searched for in its long relationship with art: a sharing of knowledge and creativity’.

Palmer also became fascinated by the world’s F1 circuit tracks. ‘Seen in the abstract, they are redolent of Eastern calligraphy’. She has recreated a collection of tracks, including Monaco, Belgian Spa-Francorchamps, Singapore, Brazil, Shanghai and Suzuka in wall mounted neon.

After visiting the British Grand Prix at Silverstone this year, the artist was inspired to create an installation in which visitors could experience the visceral, primal roar of Formula 1. She discovered that Nick Mason of Pink Floyd – who has a serious passion for performance cars – had recorded the sounds of his stable of cars driven to their limits at Silverstone with his test driver Mark Hales. He generously allowed her to use the recordings of his three 8-cylinder cars – a 1920s Bugatti, a 1930s Alfa Romeo and a 1980s Tyrrell. A remix of sounds was created, with the RS27 providing the climax. The exhilarating sound of four increasingly advanced 8-cylinder engines – spanning almost a century – can be experienced in an intimate room in the gallery, flooded by synchronised light.

Finally, to capture that most potent ingredient of Formula One – the heightened sense of risk – the artist borrowed a helmet worn by an F1 driver last year and cast it in delicate crystal glass, to remind us of the ever-present fragility faced by drivers in the fastest motor sport in the world.

For further information contact Angela Palmer: angelaspalmer@gmail.com