If you’re the kind of person who shrugs at the mere thought of finding the tiniest scratch on their car, these photos are going to hurt, a lot. So if you’re the sensitive type, proceed at your own risk!
Last September, Danish museum ARoS Aarhus Kunstmuseum invited visitors to scratch a black Lamborghini Gallardo that had been placed on display, as part of the “No Man Is an Island” exhibition. For three weeks, everyone was allowed to leave a destructive mark on the expensive Italian sports car, and even though people were skeptical about the whole thing in the beginning, once they were convinced that there would be no consequences to their vandalism, they really did a number on the poor thing.
ARoS planned to leave the car at the mercy of total strangers for longer than three weeks, but the damage became so extensive during that time that they realized it would eventually go from black to completely white if they allowed the vandalism to go on any longer. They wanted to preserve the messages that had been scratched into the paint job up to that point, so they posted a guard in front of the exhibit and announced that the artwork was now complete and interaction with the car was no longer allowed.
Photo: ARoS Kunstmuseum/Facebook
Even though the actual scratching happened seven months ago, the car has remained on display at the ARoS Kunstmuseum as a thought-provoking work of art. It will stay there until September, at least, after which it will be returned to its owner, Norwegian artist DOLK.
One of the first things to be scratched on to the Lamborghini was the word “SKODA” (a much cheaper car brand) on the tailgate, but people also scratched in greetings, slogans and love letters. They will all be preserved, as repainting the car would ruin a now famous work of art.
You may think that allowing a gorgeous Lamborghini Gallardo to be vandalized this way makes no sense, but a) this is art, so you needn’t subject it’s not subject to logic, and b) it was meant to send a powerful message. Pernille Taagaard Dinesen, curator at ARoS, told BIL Magazine that the artwork, entitled “Low Key”, was meant to show that “everything you do, every action, leaves a mark on the society you live in. None of us are left untouched, as every little action has an impact on the whole”.
“It’s all about showing how each individual’s destructive actions leave clear traces and contribute to a society whose facade is slowly cracking,” Danish site Stiften explains.
DOLK and his gallerist, Sjur Nedreaas, bought the used Lamborghini Gallardo from Italy, specifically for this project, but neither them nor the ARoS museum imagined that the damage would become so extensive. For example, people started scratching the windows, which wasn’t allowed, and pulled off the letters from the “Lamborghini” name on the tailgate. Now only two letters remain.
Still, Dinesen claims that “once you relinquish control, as we have done in the case of Low Key, one can not say that something is forbidden. The work was interactive, and we can now conclude that Aarhus has a very enthusiastic, interactive audience.”
On the museum’s Facebook page, people accused the ARoS Kunstmuseum of encouraging vandalism, arguing that once people cross this line once, they will be inclined to do it again. Pernille Taagaard Dinesen agreed that it’s possible, adding that it’s important for an artwork to provide food for thought and even change a person’s behavior.
“But even if you were to go out and scratch a stranger’s car in the parking lot after scratching this one, that is totally your responsibility. We urge you to scratch a car here, at ARoS, not in society, the context in which you do it is very important,” he told BIL.
Some people believe that the Lamborghini Gallardo is a work of art in itself, and that the Low Key art project represents mutilation of art. To this, Dinesen responded that the DOLK specifically opted for a Lamborghini, because it would make the message of the artwork that much stronger.
If they had oped for a Citroen Berlingo, for example, people would not experience the same “pain” when looking at the scratching. He considered going for a Porsche, but some people are actually able to save enough money to buy one, while only a fraction of the world’s population owns a Lamborghini. For most of us, this expensive car is an unattainable dream.
“And this is why people’s reactions to Low Key are so strong,” the curator added. “Because we did this to soething iconic, we mutilated a boy’s dream.”
Paradoxically, this scratched Lamborghini Gallardo may one day end up costing a lot more than a brand new one…
Video credit: Youtube/Helgert (https://www.youtube.com/user/arcprmarketing00)