DeLorean Progress Report is a solo exhibition by the Irish artist Sean Lynch. The exhibition is comprised of photographs and installations that take as a starting point the DeLorean car factory, which operated in Dunmurry, outside Belfast, from 1981-2. Lynch’s practice positions him somewhere between artist and storyteller. He ethnographically reveals unwritten stories and forgotten histories, extracting alternative readings of place, events and artefacts through his work. Lynch explains: A story can be told and described many times, and it begins to narrow down to a particular narrative and content. I am often drawn in to loose ends and footnotes that occur during this process.
In 1982, John DeLorean was arrested in Los Angeles for alleged drug possession and while cleared of charges and judged a victim of FBI entrapment, the incident meant the effective end of his fledgling sports-car factory. With substantial investment from the British government, DeLorean had created a new car and employed over 2,600 workers. Technical flaws during car production, poor sales in the United States and an upcoming criminal trial all contributed to bankruptcy and closure of the factory after less than two years of operation. Despite such obstacles, the car became an icon of the 1980s, functioning as a time machine in the movie Back to the Future. Today, enthusiasts worldwide maintain and drive the vehicle.
The events around DeLorean’s demise attracted significant media attention and were well known, however, Lynch took interest in the lesser known story of how the actual production of the car wound down in the subsequent aftermath. In the exhibition, a series of photographs trace a path taken to seek out and find the location of the tooling once used to make the body of the car, essentially the formgivers that gave DeLorean its famous profile. The tooling, consisting of large metal casts, was sold off and dispersed to scrapyards throughout Ireland. It was rumoured that some sections were purchased by fishermen to be reused as anchors. Lynch located them at the bottom of Galway Bay, where crabs and lobsters now live in the coral around the nooks and shapes that once pressed out stainless steel panels of the car’s exterior. Also presented in the exhibition are re-produced sections of a DeLorean car created by handmade rather than industrial means.
Sean Lynch (b.1978, Kerry, Ireland) lives in London and Askeaton, Limerick. He is representing Ireland at the Venice Biennale in 2015. He studied fine art at the Stadelschule, Frankfurt am Main. He has recently held solo exhibitions at Modern Art Oxford and Dublin City Gallery The Hugh Lane. His artworks have been exhibited at the Camden Arts Centre, London, Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin, neugerriemschneider, Berlin and Frankfurter Kunstverein, Frankfurt am Main.
Photo: Sean Lynch, DeLorean Progress Report, 2009-11, colour photographs, courtesy the artist and Ronchini Gallery Description: Construction of a handmade DeLorean DMC-12.