Tod Man Plaa

Tobias Rehberger

14 December 2004

Car 120 x 380 x 165 cm Courtesy: Galerie Neugerriemschneider, Berlin.

The work Tod Man Plaa belongs to a project begun by Tobias Rehberger in 1999, consisting of the construction of a number of automobile models in a workshop in Thailand. To produce the vehicles, Rehberger sent some rudimentary instructions to the workshop: a few sketches made from memory by the artist himself plus additional information given over the phone. The chosen models were well-known brands: he ordered the production of a Porsche, a McLaren, a Mercedes, or an Alpine Renault, as in the case of the piece on show here.

No matter how faithful the result achieved by the Thai “artisans” working from such scant information, there are natural differences between the produced model and the real one. An interpretative distance that is absolutely essential for the artist. In that regard, and when talking about another project also dealing with cars, Rehberger claimed that he wanted “to create a car that is in itself a sculpture.” A statement equally applicable to this work. A number of interesting aspects emerge from the project of construction set in motion by Rehberger: a reflection on the idea of authenticity, on original and copy; on the relationship of design, form and function; on the perception of objects in relation with the context they are seen in; on the way in which the everyday is related with art; and very especially, on the concept of production and working process. In this work, Rehberger brings to the fore the implicit notions contained within the concept of production and more specifically in relation with industrial production. By subverting the production process through the development of alternative techniques and tools, the connection between design and function is altered, as well as the relationship between authenticity and market we create in consumer society. Tod Man Plaa is at once an automobile and a sculpture, a consumer good and an artwork.