Warping Reality: The Sculpture of Wim Delvoye

Design Milk featured Belgian artist Wim Delvoye’s carved tires back in 2012. His new exhibition on view at Galerie Perrotin in New York this month turns up the volume, featuring must-see sculptures from the last five years. In a variety of materials, it all feels like a competition between machine precision and hand-made perfection – where too much is not enough, and everybody wins.

Wim Delvoye exhibition at Perrotin New York

Dunlop Geomax 100/90-19 57M 720 2x, 2013 (detail)

For his “Twisted Tire” series, a motorcycle tire was digitally scanned and warped into various Möbius forms. The ENTIRE thing is cast in stainless steel, with a black patina to mimic rubber (there is no rubber in this sculpture). See other Möbius tire versions here.

Wim Delvoye exhibition at Perrotin New York

The centerpiece of the show is the REAL 1950’s Maserati 450S racing car that has been intricately hand-embossed by Iranian artisans hired by Delvoye. It’s ALMOST too much – like inlaying diamonds INTO a ruby, but I can’t look away. The result is a unbelievable 360° view of thousands of hand-tapped details.

Maserati, 2012 (detail)

Other embossed aluminum objects litter the exhibition, including a set of modified Rimowa luggage pieces (also not cheap) and 2 fire extinguishers that look like they just happened to be in the gallery during this detail festival. I do hope that if/when they make it to a museum, they are hung in a random hallway.

Rimowa Topas Cabin Multiwheel 920.00.56.4 (2015), Rimowa Classic Flight Multiwheel 971.00.00.4 (2013), Rimowa Pilot Multiwheel 923.51.00.4 (2015)

Rimowa Classic Flight Multiwheel 971.00.00.4, 2013 (detail)

Fire extinguisher 2, 2016

Fire extinguisher 2, 2016 (detail)

My favorite are the neoclassical Rorschach’ed bronze sculptures. Just over 2 feet tall, each was sourced from real neoclassical figurines, (like this one?) then digitally stretched, twisted and mirrored into fully three-dimensional silhouettes of classic artistry and deformed digital manipulation.

Wim Delvoye exhibition at Perrotin New York

Pegasus & Perseus Rorschach, 2016

Gloria Victis Rorschach, 2012

The kidnapping of Psyche Rorschach, 2016

View of the exhibition at Perrotin New York

And by far the most intricate, time-consuming (and inexplicable) is the massive “Twisted Cement Truck”.

Twisted Cement Truck, 2017

Stretching nearly 12-feet tall and part of a larger “Gothic Works” series, it’s a Mercedes (yes Mercedes) cement truck that is pieced together from Gothic architectural elements, digitally torqued, hung from its nose, and made from HUNDREDS of laser-cut stainless steal pieces, taking a team of workers over a year to design and build.

Twisted Cement Truck, 2017 (detail)

This show adds insane levels of detail to the already “perfect” objects – using both highly skilled human hands and new levels of digital technology. The result is a rollercoaster of visual experiences that must be seen up close and in person.

What: Wim Delvoye New Sculpture
Where: Perrotin New York, 130 Orchard St, New York, NY
When: September 9 – October 29, 2017

Cover image & all gallery installation photographs © Delvoye / ADAGP Paris, 2017, photographed by Guillaume Ziccarelli / Courtesy Perrotin

All other detail & single work images photographed by the author, David Behringer.

David Behringer visits over 200 galleries every month to uncover and share the most exciting contemporary art in New York today. Subscribe to his exclusive weekly newsletter at and learn about his private gallery tours. And be sure to check out his YouTube.