This solo show from Irish artist Sean Lynch takes as its focus the DeLorean car factory, which operated in Dunmurry, Belfast, for one year from 1981-1982. Lynch is part storyteller, part artist – often exploring forgotten histories and disregarded stories – and here he narrates a tale of dashed hopes, wrongful accusation and unlikely celebrity via a series of photographs and installations.
In 1982, owner of the DeLoran car factory, John DeLorean was arrested in LA for alleged drug possession. Although he was entirely cleared of charges and seen as a victim of FBI entrapment, the incident led to the end of his new sports-car factory. DeLorean had acquired funding from the British government for his new car, employing over 2,600 workers, however when technical flaws, a US lapse in sales and his criminal trial arose at once, the factory was forced to close. However, this new vehicle became a 1980s icon: the time machine from the movie Back to the Future. Today the car is known worldwide.
While DeLorean’s personal decline attracted media attention in the 1980s, Lynch has chosen to look at a separate factor which contributed to the factory’s demise: how the actual production of the car came to a halt. Documented in photographs, Lynch looked for the form-givers which had been used to make the famously shaped body of the car.
The ‘tooling’ or large metal casts, ended up in scrapyards throughout Ireland with some sections rumoured to have been reused by local fishermen as anchors. The myths proved truthful when Lynch located these toolings at the bottom of Galway Bay, with crabs and oysters now living inside the curves that used to press out the stainless steel car panels. Alongside these images of nature taking over the man-made, the commercial, are new sections of a DeLorean created by handmade means.
Sean Lynch: DeLorean Progress Report, 22 May – 27 June, Ronchini Gallery, 22 Dering Street, London, W1S 1AN. For more information visit www.ronchinigallery.com. Sean Lynch will also represent Ireland at the Venice Biennale, 9 May – 22 November 2015 www.irelandvenice.ie.
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1. Sean Lynch, DeLorean Progress Report (2009-2011). Courtesy of the artist and Ronchini Gallery.