Wrapped motorcycles encountered on the streets of 25 cities including New York, Paris and Milan provide the enigmatic subject matter for Christian Werner’s series, Undercover. “ Everyday objects can convey a life of their own,” notes the artist, whose images will be unveiled tomorrow in an exhibition at the Große Bären gallery in the German capital.
“I discovered that as soon as I isolated these found objects, they acquired a surreal character.” Werner has been exhibited in museums and galleries across his native Germany in addition to contributing graphic design to such publications as the supplement of the Berliner Zeitung and various art magazines and journals. Turning his lens towards the internationally ubiquitous urban objects, Werner shot 500 blanketed vehicles in total, transforming them into unlikely muses.
The resulting works are reminiscent of the comic yet haunting ready-mades of the Dada master Marcel Duchamp, projecting an abstract, strangely human aura. Despite having participated in junior motorcross races as a child in Germany—today his favorite bike is a BMW K 75 RT—his personal experience of the sport was not his primary inspiration. “ It was intuition that drew my attention to the hidden bikes, which are all over cities,” he recalls. “ They appear as ghosts, covered bodies, massive monuments—always teasing our desire to look underneath the surface, to unveil the concealed mystery.”