Exhibition & Auction Preview: The 100 Helmets of The Vader Project
Freeman’s Los Angeles, USA
Auction Preview Exhibition 12th June – 20th June 2010
Lyon & Turnbull, Edinburgh, UK
Auction Preview Exhibition: 25th June – 27th June 2010
Freeman’s Philidelphia, USA
Auction Preview Exhibition: 5th – 9th July 2010
Auction: 10th July 2010
By Guy Sangster Adams
With its fantastic re-imaginings of Darth Vader’s helmet from the Star Wars films, The Vader Project has created iconic layers upon layers which were already heavy with iconography and reference. As a young viewer of Star Wars, one never quite loses the mixture of fear and irresistibility that grips one when first exposed to Darth Vader on screen. John Mollo, the wardrobe master on Star Wars, has said that “Darth Vader’s helmet started as a World War I German Stahlhelm helmet”, the shape of the latter remained pretty much unchanged through the World War II and is in itself an instantly recognizable and charged object. Which equally was co-opted and customized by post-war subcultures, in particular rockers and multifarious motorcycle gangs.
The curators of The Vader Project, Dov Kelemer and Sarah Jo Marks of DKE Toys, first conceived the idea in 2005 and went on to commission 100 underground artists and designers, including Shag, Gary Baseman, Ron English, Jeff Soto, and Plasticgod (for a complete list scroll down), to customize a 1:1 scale authentic prop replica of the Darth Vader helmet. The results wonderfully subvert one’s responses to an innately recognizable object, familiarity and the shock of the new co-exist, the vividness and adornment add to the allure, but the menace – like a flower in the barrel of a gun – is never completely forgotten.
The Vader Project was first unveiled at an exhibition in 2007, since when it has toured the world, but now enters its final chapter with a 10-day exhibition in Los Angeles, a whistle stop 3-day visit to Lyon & Turnbull in Edinburgh, before moving to Freeman’s Auctioneers and Appraisers in Philadelphia, where after a 5-day preview, the helmets will be sold at auction. A limited edition catalogue is also available, and at the Los Angeles exhibition there will be a catalogue signing event, with 20 of the featured artists, on 12th June 2010.
The Vader Project artists:
Josh Agle (Shag),Troy Alders, Kii Arens, Attaboy, Anthony Ausgang, Axis, Aye Jay, Gary Baseman, Andrew Bell, Tim Biskup, Mark Bodnar, BXH HIKARU, Andrew Brandou, Buff Monster, Mister Cartoon, Chino, Mr. Clement, Robbie Conal, CRASH, Steven Daily, Dalek, Dehara, DGPH, Cam de Leon, Devilrobots, Yoko d’Holbachie, Bob Dob,Tristan Eaton & Azk One – Thunderdog Studios, Marc Ecko, Eelus, Ron English, FERG, David Flores, Brian Flynn – Hybrid Design, Paul Frank, Gargamel, Huck Gee, Fawn Gehweiler, Mike Giant, Girls Drawin Girls, Dan Goodsell, Gris Grimly, Joe Hahn, Haze XXL, Jesse Hernandez, Derek Hess, Itokin Park, Jeremyville, kaNO, Mori Katsura- RealxHead, Sun-MinKim & David Horvath, Jim Koch, Frank Kozik, David S. Krys – DSK Designs, Peter Kuper, Wade Lageose – Lageose Design, Joe Ledbetter, Simone Legno – Tokidoki, Mad Mad Barbarians, Madtwiinz, Marka27, Mars-1, Bill McMullen, Melvins, Mori Chack, Brian Morris, Nanospore, Niagara, Mitch O’Connell, olive47, Martin Ontiveros, Estevan Oriol, Alex Pardee, The Pizz, Plasticgod, PlaysKewl, Dave Pressler, Ragnar, Jermaine Rogers, Erick Scarecrow, Secret Base, J. Otto Seibold, Sket-One, Shawn Smith, Winston Smith, Jeff Soto, Damon Soule, Bwana Spoons, Jophen Stein, Suckadelic, T9G, Gary Taxali, Cameron Tiede, Touma, UrbanMedium, Usugrow, Michelle Valigura, VanBeater, Amanda Visell.