HN R200 showcased to the world at a modest private viewing in the DOX gallery, 16. 4. -11. 5. 2015.
The HN R200 NON-FICTION exhibition was accompanied by the black-and-white photography of Antonín Kratochvíl, who told the story of the creation of our car in thrilling snapshots, along with inspiring music in the background. It was a pleasant surprise, if not unanticipated, to see how much interest was expressed in the ‘unexpected’ exponent in the gallery. The HN R200 (‘Erko’) was impressive to behold emanating a surprising force in the clean and uncluttered space given to it in the gallery.
In his book Mythologies (1957), French philosopher Roland Barthes wrote that the Citroen DS was almost the exact equivalent of the great Gothic cathedrals. A car which is so elegant that it seems such perfection cannot have arisen from human hands alone. But it did. And it wasn’t the hands of the Creator, but the hands of the designer.
According to Deyan Sudjic, the author of a number of books about design, cars are a highly specialised form of design, blessed and cursed by mass production and technological progress. Cars permit a feeling of personal freedom. Cars can be beautiful. Cars are one of the symbols of modern society. They concentrate status, progress, fiction and the myth of perfection.
Before the arrival of the industrial revolution, the relationship between the producer of an object and its user was a very close one. Tradition, craft and intuition avoided any analysis of forms and production processes. The arrival of mass production changed everything and required the role of a designer. The world around us is today full of design. Everything is design. Design for the masses and design for the chosen few.
Designer Petr Novague, holder of a number of prestigious international awards, and Marek Hoffmann, director of Kovovýroba Hoffmann, have decided to join forces, and inspired by the legendary Škoda RS 130 have created the ‘Erko for the 21st century’.
Paradoxically, the Hoffmann & Novague team have gone back a century, bringing back together all the links in the designer – producer – distributor – user chain and taking on all these roles. In the world of international business and big players, it is unusual for a small team put its know-how, competencies, capacity and money into a project it believes in. And all the more welcome for it.
The RS 130 metamorphosis is complete, and it isn’t fiction.
Leoš Válka, Director of the DOX Centre for Contemporary Art