Works Resume Contact
The Canvas Car (2016)
The Canvas Car is a project that I developed in collaboration with Katarina Surganak (born around 1950 Yougoslavia), expert in canvas wing making. The purposes of the project were to produced a neo-modernist idea that we had together: A car made out of canvas like the one that she used to set on airplane wings. And to develop this project by using the lowest budget as possible, which involved a long term production time, the setting of an informal economy (trading) and a stronger human experience made out of happiness but also melancolia.
All this experience and the lifestory of the project were gathered in a photo book and novel.
The Canvas Car was presented at the Graduation Show of the Sandberg Instituut(Amsterdam, Nederlands) and is looking now for her first owner.
Canvas Car in the street. Dicussion at Katarina's place. Coffee on the left, picture of Katarina's own archive on the right. "-You know Katarina, I really would like to work with your skill but I have no money to built an airplane and actually it doesn’t really motivated me.
Don’t you think we could use your technique on another object ?
- When I was your age, I dreamt to set canvas on a « Dodoche » (familiar french term to designate the Citroen 2CV).
But I was too poor, you know I was living in the attic of a house with my two kids, so no time for dreaming …
- Wait you mean, to transform all the body shape of the car by canvas?
-Yes, it was my idea. It’s light, it doesn’t burn and if your break a part of it you can fix it super easily."

We got our idea.

Working process Last year, I decided to go to see Katarina because she has a particular gift:
She was setting canvas on airplane her whole life (yes the first airplanes were made out of canvas, linen usually).
She was doing it better and faster than anybody else. She is my old Wingmaker. I have a lot of tenderness for her. Maybe a certain love for her life story. A life full of melancholia and regrets that she expresses to me every time I spoke to her. Katarina never cries, Katarina is proud: « I cried too much to be able to cry more. »

"We need a 2CV.
But how to find that in Holland, how to find what the dutch people call a Eend*?
I wrote down the adresse of THE « Eendengarage » of Amsterdam. I just decided to go. Just go to talk.
When I arrived front of the garage there is nobody inside. I am waiting again and again until that the guy in question arrived. He is not at all the image that I had from a mechanic. He is riding a small bi-cross bicycle, completelyrusty, in one of his hand a smallbox:
The first thought that I had when I seen it was: well this dude looks like a special mechanic. He is one of the grumpiest people that I ever met, but at the same time he is full of tenderness and smartness. He is more than a mechanic for me. When he fixes a car, he is like a dancer. He knows perfectly what he is doing, he knows every screw, every part of the car. All of his movements look like they are part of a complex choreography set for years now and it looks like that it will go on until his death. The first time that I went to the garage, he is «ultra busy », he asked me to come back. The second time he was not there.
I want to talk to him.
I came back a third time and this time, it is the good shot."

Katarina's hands

Lesson at Katarina's place about canvas setting.

« -So do you remember how to glue the canvas ?
-Yes, I do Katarina
And about the safety areas on the canvas ?
-Yes, I remember. 10 centimeter right? »
She harass me of questions in order to see if I remember all the hours of technical conversations and teaching that she gave me.
«-So … In a way you are ready.
-Katarina ? I don’t know if I will reach to do it. The form is complex. Sincerely I don’t know… if you are not without me, it’s gonna be difficult.
-I already told you: If you love something, if you really want to do something, you will reach to do it. Don’t hesitate just think a lot and focus.
-Well … Anyway I will try my best. Let’s drink a last coffee, I need to go after. My train for Amsterdam is early tomorrow morning. »

On the left setting of the engine in the chassis, on the right work in progress setting of the aluminium structure.
test voiture
Driving Test front of the atelier.
Few weeks before the exhibition, everything start to go so fast. The engine broke down, we fix it. One of the tire is flat, we fix it. When I say « we », I mean all the people who get involve in this project. Everybody look so much to get into it. Maybe the love and the energy that I put in this car are resonating around it and it is magnetizing a bench of amazing people around. On this period I have maybe 20 hands to help me. It is a daily fight with this machine but I think we are going to win. And James is part of this fight. We had a deal: I contact for him some 2CV owners in France in order to negotiate the price of their cars, and in exchange he is borrowing me four nice brand new wheels. Deal.

Public presentation of the Canvas Car

Photobook of The Canvas Car project

Below The Canvas Car on a closed road.