Common Car Fuels Jed Lind

Sculptor uses auto parts to probe the ways vehicles shape us

June 7, 2012 | David Jager

In J.G. Ballard’s sci-fi novel concrete Island, an architect crashes his Jaguar into a fenced-in concrete wasteland between three motorways. Unable to escape, he becomes a modern-day Robinson Crusoe, forced to survive on what he can salvage from his totalled car.

Jed Lind borrowed the title of Ballard’s novel for his current sculpture show at Jessica Bradley. Car parts, cast in bronze, are placed in intriguing new configurations. A Canadian currently based in Los Angeles, Lind creates work that addresses the ubiquity of the car as both a coveted necessity and problematic cultural space.

For instance, he fuses bronze-cast windshield wipers into an icosahedron, the most complex of the Platonic solids. It’s the same shape Buckminster Fuller used as the basis for his Dymaxion map of the world. Lind’s form links a common car part to a constellation of ideas surrounding form, representation and technology.

He’s also fond of wordplay. In his series of photographs of reclaimed car parts, each image is a letter in the Latin word “communis” (common space), addressing freeways as shared areas of tense public domain. Communis is also the name of the African castor oil plant, Ricinus communis, which grows in the scabby, barren areas along L.A.’s sprawling freeway system.

For Ballard, the car was the ultimate 20th-century symbol, a late-capitalist fetish object that embodies our morbid preoccupation with death, desire and alienation. Though Lind is far more cryptic and restrained, he’s equally fascinated with the often unconscious ways we’re shaped by our vehicles and the urban structures we build around them.

The Toronto Sculpture Garden also features Gold, Silver & Lead, his monumental stack of Honda Civics, until the fall.

How Magazine, 2012