After several wanderings, Turtle 1 will be on show again. The first African car made from scratch is part of the group show AutoPhoto at Fondation Cartier (Paris) from 20 April – 31 October, an exhibition dedicated to photography’s relationship to the automobile. The story of the Turtle is translated to a dense presentation, including photos of the shopmakers and videos of the challenging construction. In 2016 Turtle 1 was exhibited for the very first time at Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, Rotterdam.
Organized in series, AutoPhoto will bring together 400 works made by 80 historic and contemporary artists from around the world including Jacques-Henri Lartigue, Lee Friedlander, Rosângela Renno and Yasuhiro Ishimoto. Capturing the geometric design of roadways, the reflections in a rear-view mirror or our special relationship with this object of desire, these photographers invite us to look at the world of the automobile in a new way. The exhibition will include other projects that cast a fresh eye on the history of automobile design.
For the project Turtle 1 Smets and researcher Joost van Onna built a ‘concept car’ in twelve weeks in Suame Magazine, a large industrial cluster near Kumasi in Ghana. The design grew out of analysis of the local circumstances in Ghana. The concept was based on the craftsmanship of the highly skilled artisans of Suame Magazine, capable of building cars from scratch, transforming parts from technologically advanced cars into tropical low-tech vehicles. By exporting the Turtle concept car to Europe Van Onna and Smets completed the cycle of the so called circular economy by bringing back the discarded scrap to its creators. This cycle of the Turtle is translated to a densed exhibition, including photos of the shop owners and several videos of a challenging construction.
For the occasion of Autophoto the publication Turtle 1 – Building a car in Africa (Paradox/Verlag Kettler, 2016) is temporarily available at the Fondation Cartier bookstore.